4 out of 4 stars
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When we first meet McDowell, the main character in William H. Coles' novel McDowell, he is an arrogant and selfish man. He cares very little for anything or anyone else but himself and his children. His distinguished career as a surgeon has granted him many opportunities in life including heading a Department of Surgery, establishing a hospital in Nepal, and being elected president of the International College of Surgeons. Soon however, McDowell finds himself fallen from grace and running from the law.
This novel is a gripping and moving story that explores human character, as well as one's ability to criticize yourself if needed. It also examines what drives human actions, thoughts and ideas. McDowell is a horrible person when we first meet him; lies, cheating and deception are all part of the game for him to get to the top. You find yourself asking: 'Why does he do things this way?' Whilst he does not experience a miraculous transformation, he does learn powerful lessons and eventually discovers the real purpose of life.
William H. Coles is a brilliant writer. This book is entertaining from beginning to end, making it appealing to anyone; yet, fans of literary fiction will find in particularly enjoyable. The writing is crisp, almost prosaic, and flows easy one page to another. I noticed only two errors in this whole book, which leads me to believe that it is professionally edited. This all adds to a pleasurable experience and makes reading this book a delight.
I rate McDowell 4 out of 4 stars. I recommend it to anyone who is looking for a book that explores human flaws and ideals. As I previously mentioned, fans of literary fiction will particularly enjoy this novel.
To end with, I would like to quote a section I found very revealing of McDowell. It is a conversation between him and his daughter(Sophie). It shows how she, and perhaps everyone around McDowell, sees him (McDowell) “Damn it. I really did hurt when your mother imploded into herself, believe it or not. I just never could reach her.” (Sophie) “You never tried! Always caught up in your success. You disappeared from her life. And ours.” (McDowell) “What other choices would you have made if you were me?” (Sophie) “You would have ignored us no matter what had happened between you and mother. It’s you. Take some responsibility for mother’s decline and the misery of your children.”
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