The Road to Madhapur
by David Whittet
This is not like other books in which medical doctors tell stories of their life in practice. This is a novel, written by a doctor, which does include stories based on true happenings in surgeries, but it is broader in scope. Much broader.
Geographically, certainly. It begins in New Zealand where the central character, Theo Malone, is a medical student in Dunedin, and where he is told he will never make a GP. There’s a stint in Uganda where he goes with excellent intentions and is tested severely. Back to New Zealand, to rural India, to Auckland and Bay of Islands.
The geographical locations are also diverse culturally. Every step of his way is fraught with difficulties, it seems each success is paired with a failure.
Inevitably, given the very diverse locations, there’s a theme of faith. An Australian missionary family suffers for their stand in India, leaving one of the younger members, Elisha, with resentment –
“You told me God was going to open new doors for me in India. Well all He’s done is slam them in my face.”
The way is never easy, but some common ground is found with the ministrations of a Hindu guru and eventually the same person learns to accept
“A church or a temple. Heaven or Nirvana. We’re all aiming for the same place. We’ve just got a different way of getting there. It’s the same God.”
In addition to cultural tensions overseas, the doctor’s journey is also roughened and tested by political and social issues both there and in New Zealand, inter-personal relationships, grief, and a less-than-smooth romance.
Though the point of view is mainly that of Theo Malone, it does shift in parts so we also get to know the thoughts of the other central character, Elisha.
How much of the Author’s own experience is reflected and retold in Dr Theo Malone’s story is explained in a few pages at the end. The basis of fact, together with the informed fiction, results in a believable work.
The 436 page volume itself is nicely designed with a very attractive cover
Author: David Whittet