Synopses & Reviews
A hospital is preserved, afloat, after the Earth is flooded beneath seven miles of water. Inside, assailed by mysterious forces, doctors and patients are left to remember the world they've lost and to imagine one to come. At the center, a young medical student finds herself gifted with strange powers and a frightening destiny. Simultaneously epic and intimate, wildly imaginative and unexpectedly relevant, The Children's Hospital is a work of stunning scope, mesmerizing detail, and wrenching emotion.
"Medicine, magic, the biblical story of Noah and sociological ruminations about Americans in the throes of the apocalypse come together in physician Adrian's hip, wry and ambitious debut. When the world is submerged beneath seven miles of water, only those aboard the Children's Hospital, a working medical facility and ark built by architect turned prophet John Grampus (who was ordered by God 'to save the kids') survive. Four chatty, digressive and at times grimly comic angels (the recorder, the preserver, the accuser and the destroyer) narrate this epic tale, which follows heart-sick medical student Jemma and the hospital's other unlikely inhabitants (such as the overly-cutely-named Dr. Snood and Ethel Puffer) as they attempt to ensure humanity's survival and live by virtue of the ship's 'replicators,' heaven-sent devices that can make 'apples out of old shoes; shoes out of shit.' Eventually, Jemma discovers her magical ability to heal the sick. As fragments of her tragic past come to light, so do clues about humanity's future, and, after 200 days at sea, what part Jemma will finally play in it. This dense and lengthy satirical-but-sincere novel may challenge readers' patience with its fairy-tale-like characters and its long-windedness, but Adrian's knack for surprise and his ability to find meaning in seemingly ridiculous situations is rewarding." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Adrian is master of detail. Trusting our ability to recognize type, he plucks characters from their type and adds enough specifics to bring us face to face with an individual." Boston Globe
"[A] wildly imaginative tale of loss and redemption, its writing as varied and textured as the story it brings to life." Karla Starr, The Willamette Week
"To read Chris Adrian is to take part in the exciting process of watching a talented and original writer gain mastery of his powerful gifts." Myla Goldberg, The New York Times Book Review
"[Adrian's] newest attempt fails to impress....[T]he premise is wonderfully imaginative....[H]e spends too much time trying to wow us with medical jargon, which slows the pace. Sadly, not recommended." Library Journal
A hospital is preserved, afloat, after the Earth is flooded beneath seven miles of water. Inside, assailed by mysterious forces, doctors and patients are left to remember the world they've lost and to imagine one to come. At the center, Jemma Claflin, a medical student, finds herself gifted with strange powers and a frightening destiny.
About the Author
Chris Adrian is the author of a previous novel, Gob's Grief, and his short fiction has appeared in The New Yorker, The Paris Review, Zoetrope, and The Best American Short Stories. He recently completed a pediatric residency at the University of California San Francisco, and is currently a student at Harvard Divinity School.