The emotionally-charged story of South Eight follows a young doctor's collision with the demands and contradictions of modern acute care medicine, both its power and failings, and the moral questions it ultimately provokes.
For Dr. Abel Arkin, those questions reach back to his time as the spotter on an Army sniper team in Afghanistan, when the clarity of his training and skills converged with the uncertainty of mission outcomes and personal trauma. The old dilemmas and doubts join those of the present when a newly arrived patient tries to blackmail him with the threatened exposure of a wartime catastrophe, and simultaneously underlines Arkin's increasing ambivalence about what he is actually accomplishing for his patients, what may be missing from the life-and-death calculations he makes everyday. In pitch-perfect language, Atlas builds suspense not simply around a disturbing medical and professional dilemma, but in troubling questions of individual trust and conviction. Both a literary mystery and love story, South Eight is also a piercing exploration of the reality of modern medicine, one with important insights for doctors and nurses, as well as for the patients they treat. Which is to say, for all of us.
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