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Mend the Living

Taking place within exactly twenty-four hours, the novel traces the thrill of an early-morning winter surf session, the terrible accident that follows, and all the urgency and compassion of the hospital workers, and shock and grief of Simon’s family as they negotiate the question of organ donation. Maylis de Kerangal offers glimpses into the lives of each of the characters: not only Simon, but Marianne and Sean, his parents; Revol, the chief surgeon, music enthusiast, and studier of hallucinogenic plants; Cordelia, the capable nurse who is reeling from a night spent with her former lover; Thomas Rémige, the hospital coordinator, an opera singer, and aficionado of goldfinches; Virgilio, the silvertongued, light-fingered surgeon; Juliette, Simon’s girlfriend, who is building a labyrinth as she waits for Simon’s call.rnThe novel also touches upon Claire, the recipient of the heart, who reflects philosophically on what it means to have someone else’s heart beating inside you.

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