Richard Godwin

The Dark Side of Er

Hospital

By

Hamish Hamilton 511pp £14.99 order from our bookshop
 

Toby ‘English’ Litt opens the eighth of his projected twenty-six novels with a brilliant piece of defamiliarisation. He brings us in to land on the halogen-lit helipad of Hospital in a Dauphin XTP 3000 piloted by Hank ‘Cowboy’ Smith; Bill ‘Zapper’ Billson unloads an unidentified Caucasian male – plus a worried small boy – into the waiting hands of one Sir Reginald Saint-Hellier and his trauma team. Electric doors shoom; strip lights scroll. The language signifies science fiction – but it takes a second reading to confirm that no detail Litt has given us is especially futuristic, or inconceivable. In fact, this is pretty standard modern medical procedure. But isn’t it strange?

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter