Mend the Living by Maylis de Kerangal is one of the novels listed in the 2016 Man Booker International Prize long list. It’s a long, thrilling tale about the fate of a heart.
Simon Limbeau went surfing with his friends, and, during the drive to home, maybe for tiredness, maybe for the iced streets, their van derails and Simon, without safety belt, suffers the worst damage. He is taken to the near hospital in the ICU section, but he soon enters in a coma until the cerebral death. It begins this way the fine procedure to evaluate the possibility to harvest his organs, a procedure involving Simon’s parents, the hospital doctors and the people working in the harvesting administrative procedure.
The narrative style is fast paced, a flow of emotions to overwhelm the reader and a series of point of view, one after the other, from the doctor who admits Simon to the surgeons called to harvest the heart and the other organs. Each phase allow us to meet new characters and the author makes each of them familiar to the reader by telling some of their dreams, life and emotions related to Simon’s situation.
This is a novel that makes the reader hold his breath, each phase is a delicate one, the controls to check the compatibility numerous, the harvesting and transplant are difficult operations that involve a good number of specialists. The story is well-built and detailed not only from the emotional point of view, but also from the scientifical and medical one, the details about the harvesting procedure are very interesting, from the process to match donors and receivers, the privacy issues to protect the families, the complexity of the operations.
Thanks to the publisher for providing me the copy necessary to write this review.
* Mend the living by Maylis de Kerangal ★★★★☆
*I read this book in english