There’s a real fashion, of late, for novels in translation; this is one such novel that this fashion has thrown up. It’s a prize-winning novel (and prize winning translation) and it is entertaining enough, for a book about sickness and death. The author clearly knows a lot about medicine and hospitals, or did a great deal of research. The book is littered with quotations from other books about death and dying; littered being the key word here. Apart from the line of the story being rigorously maintained, with the reader’s feelings of suspense being stretched just to the point of them no longer caring, the rest of the novel is a bit sloppy. The point of view is constantly changing, and instead of focusing on the feelings and thoughts of the son, or the dying father, we are thrown all over the place. We enter the heads of minor characters for no apparent reason. And then we’re hit with another chestnut from some book about death and we can’t be sure what to make of it. In need of a serious tidying up.