The central theme of the novel is the assisted suicide, so the easy way out the title hints.
The book is set in a country where, thanks to the legislation, some hospitals have opened an experimental programs ward to help die some incurable patients. To access this procedure the patient goes through some interviews (with the objective to assess the actual desire of the patient) and confirmation modules: the nurse are not to influence the patients in taking the decision.
Evan is a nurse and he works in the “suicide” ward, and from the first pages we know that his duty was to evaluated the patient’s assistants, and that for the first time he will be involved directly in the procedure.
Thanks to Evan’s point of view – ironic, reflexive – we are presented the different moral and ethical dilemmas regarding assisted suicide: can a procedure truly evaluate a person’s desire? Which patients to include or exclude? And so on.
These doubts are enhanced by the protagonist’s behaviour, since Evan on one side becomes part od a group who helps private people (not admitted in the official procedure) die with Nembutal and mask their death as collapse, and on the other side he has to face his mother’s illness (she has Parkinson’s’) and her desire to die in case the illness got worse.
Evan finds some answers (in his past and thanks to friends and lovers), but the novel leaves behind some question that are very difficult to reply with a unique, correct answer.
Thanks to the publisher for providing me the copy necessary to write this review.
* The Easy Way Out by Steven Amsterdam ★★★☆☆
*I read this book in english