4 out of 4 stars
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Hiram McDowell is a man of great accomplishments. An established surgeon, regent to the board of directors of the International College of Surgeons, founder of a hospital for complex care in Nepal, and a mountaineer, he is a person who has big ambitions and is still continuing to achieve more. But behind his successful career, it seems that his personal life is not as fortunate. Being married to his third wife, with three children of his own and two step-daughters, what kind of life does Hiram live when he is not being praised for his triumphs?
McDowell is a fiction novel written by William H. Coles. It a book about self-discovery and how one life correlates to many others. Hiram has climbed every peak above 8,000 meters in Nepal and that is exactly where we first see him. He was at the summit of the Himalayas when his climbing partner is in danger of dying, and he does the only thing that he thinks he can do: leave him behind. Just what kind of man Hiram McDowell really is?
The story is very thought provoking, making you think what your life had done to others without you being conscious of it. The points of view shift from one person to another after some chapters but they are very well done. The narrative is very fluid, and it does not confuse the reader. The characters are realistic and it is easy to be sympathetic towards them. Hiram, being the protagonist, is a character so complex that you wouldn’t know whether to like him or hate him. And I believe that is where the expertize in writing can be seen.
Because there are many people involved in Hiram’s life, the character names were a little confusing at the start. But the reader can quickly catch on especially when the story starts to narrate their point of view. Also, as Hiram is a surgeon, I would have wanted to see more of him doing his profession. There was more emphasis in the story about his trips to Nepal rather than him doing his work. Nonetheless, the story, being as it is, was constructed very well.
I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. I would recommend this book to readers 16 years and older who likes a well-developed narrative that is focused on the characters rather than a suspenseful plot. It is not a book for readers who are looking for a thriller or a fast-paced story.
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