Get this Book: Oxygen by Carol Wiley Cassella


Oxygen - everyone needs it. In the novel, Oxygen, by Carol Wiley Cassella, Dr. Marie Heaton is the expert anesthesiologist who delivers it. And then the day comes when an eight-year-old girl is delivered into her care, the mentally fragile, precious only child of a woman who has already suffered her share of losses in her life, her share of hard knocks. The mother searches Marie’s face; she’s looking for reassurance, a way to trust. A wilted daffodil is pinned to her pocket; there’s another, also wilted, woven through the eyelet of her daughter’s blouse. You can see this: Marie crouched looking up into this mother’s anxious face, wanting her to find the reassurance she needs to give consent for what should be routine surgery. Your mental eye fastens on that poignant detail: the twin daffodils. It is so significant of the mother’s deep love for her little girl. You know something terrible is going to happen. When the nightmare becomes the reality, Marie is horrified, bewildered; she is crushed by guilt and self doubt. She is also targeted by the hospital and many of her colleagues. The ensuing investigation threatens the career she loves. By now you feel the weight of disaster in every word. Author Carol Wiley Cassella wastes none of them. Each one winds a tighter coil of suspense. But there is so much more than the sharp-edged suspense to recommend this novel. There are the relationships: Joe, the former lover, now friend and continuing mystery of the heart, and there is Marie’s sister and the dilemma they share regarding the care of their ailing, aging father. Each of these relationships has its complexities, its foibles that are so real and richly layered. And again, there is such beauty in the language and in the clear rendering of the details, the whole thing about how real life never stops in deference to calamity. The bills have to be paid, the trash taken out, former lovers and aging fathers tended to.

And in the end, sudden, blinding, and cruel, a revelation simply waits.

Comments

Colleen said…
This sounds heartbreaking, but terrific. Thanks for sharing!

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