Published: December 2021
Vivien Stuart’s groundbreaking novel portrays the pleasures and pitfalls of palliative care through the nuanced narratives of Gabby, Maedhbh and Alice – three dedicated nurses from diverse backgrounds whose worlds converge upon Acacia House, a palliative care hospice in WA. While much of the story takes place in the nineties, the interwoven perspectives of Stuart’s endearing protagonists span decades, cultures and continents.
This stirring work is an exercise in functional empathy, containing transformative doses of emotional depth and philosophical questioning. Topical themes of medical autonomy and imminent war abound, whilst the evils of economy and bureaucracy threaten to triumph over ethical end-of-life practices.
Psychological and political, but also deeply personal, Stuart’s realistic exploration of living-versus-dying revels in the rawest of human emotions with subtlety, symbolism and understated insight.