Night Theater is a gripping parable of the limits of medical science and human resilience. The big questions of morality and mortality presented by this tale will haunt readers more than any ghosts ever could. Recommended By Keith M., Powells.com
I loved this novel. Both the writing and the story pulled me in immediately and held me there, making it a book that was hard to put down. The emotional current running through it, and the philosophies examined pertaining to how we perceive and value life were subtly intoxicating. Night Theater is a beautifully carried story, lovely and unexpected. Recommended By Aubrey W., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
A surgeon must bring a dead family back to life in this fabulist debut novel set in rural India, which examines power, corruption, and ethics
A surgeon flees a scandal in the city and accepts a job at a village clinic. He buys antibiotics out of pocket, squashes roaches, and chafes at the interventions of the corrupt officer who oversees his work.
But his outlook on life changes one night when a teacher, his pregnant wife, and their young son appear. Killed in a violent robbery, they tell the surgeon that they have been offered a second chance at living if the surgeon can mend their wounds before sunrise.
So begins a night of quiet work, "as if the crickets had been bribed," during which the surgeon realizes his future is tied more closely to that of the dead family than he could have imagined. By dawn, he and his assistant have gained knowledge no mortal should have.
In this inventive novel charged with philosophical gravity and sly humor, Vikram Paralkar takes on the practice of medicine in a time when the right to health care is frequently challenged. Engaging earthly injustice and imaginaries of the afterlife, he asks how we might navigate corrupt institutions to find a moral center. Encompassing social criticism and magically unreal drama, Night Theater
is a first novel as satisfying for its existential inquiry as for its enthralling story of a skeptical physician who arrives at a greater understanding of life's miracles.
"Each nameless character is drawn with psychological depth and layered motivations. Paralkar, a physician-scientist, melds medical realism and metaphysical debate, wry humor and somber observations to create a riveting and intriguing tale." Booklist
"Otherworldly...[Paralkar's] prose is sharp and melodious, and within these enchanting passages is a haunting contemplation of life, death, the liminal space in between, and the dogged search for resurrection....A beguiling and unforgettable fable." Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)
"Fablelike tale that melds the philosophical with the corporeal....Grotesque, strange, and hopeful in turns, the novel will leave readers marveling at the mysteries of death — and the wonders of life." Publishers Weekly
"A haunting, hallucinatory fable, Night Theater wrestles with the deepest mysteries of morality, death, and the afterlife." Rachel Heng, author of Suicide Club
About the Author
Vikram Paralkar was born and raised in Mumbai. Author of a previous book, The Afflictions, he is a physician-scientist at the University of Pennsylvania, where he treats patients with leukemia and researches the disease. He lives in Philadelphia.