The Children's Hospital by Chris Adrian
Chris Adrian's second novel, The Children's Hospital, has been published for the first time in the UK some years after its debut in the states. This is presumably due to the success of last year's The Great Night, which brought his strange, original visions of the world to a larger audience. This should not however lead one to think less of the earlier work. It is an ambitious and accessible allegory that charts the progress of the titular children's hospital, afloat upon a second biblical deluge which has consumed the world entirely.
Pulling on strands of paediatrics, theology and philosophy directly from the author's employment and education, Adrian weaves them together through the central character of Jemma Claflin. A medical student at the hospital, it is through the prism of her and her peers' experience we take in the microcosm of the hospital and their very direct interactions with the angels that have brought them into their situation. It is very difficult to summarise a work as sprawling as this; that draws from so many sources and attempts such diverse societal commentary. It is testament to Adrian's skill then the book is simultaneously so compelling and buoyant. [Ryan Rushton]