Author: Bernard Beckett
Publisher: Text Publishing
Date of Publication: May 27th 2015
Source: Review copy courtesy of the publisher
Blurb:Rene’s twin brother Theo lies unconscious in hospital after a freak accident left him with massively disrupted brain function. There is hope, though. An experimental procedure—risky, scientifically exciting and ethically questionable—could allow him to gain a new life.
But what life, and at what cost?
Only Rene can give the required consent. And now he must face that difficult choice.
But first there is the question of Rene’s capacity to make that decision. And this is where the real story begins.
Bernard Beckett's Lullaby is a confronting story of love, loyalty and identity.
This is definitely a case of not judging a book by its cover. I found the synopsis really interesting and was very excited when the lovely people at Text Publishing sent me a review copy. I sat down and read this book from start to finish in 3 hours. It's not a long read, but it is fairly psychologically intense.
As the story starts, Rene is speaking to a hospital psychologist in order to establish whether he can give consent for an experimental procedure which may save the life of his brother, Theo, who is in a coma with no conventional chance of recovery.
Rene must work through his feelings about Theo and their bond as identical twins, the loss of their parents and their relationships with others. If he is found competent, then he has to make an unthinkable decision. If he's not found competent, then his brother dies.
The story is set in a society where medical marvels occur on a regular basis. Stem cells can be used to grow replacement limbs, and the brain is understood to a much greater level than in our world. But with medical advances come ethical and philosophical dilemmas, and the dilemma facing Rene is pretty much as big as they get.
As a psychology teacher with more than a passing interest in philosophy, this book could have been written for me. This is a fascinating exploration of the notion of self, how far people will go to save those they love, and what scientists will do to advance their research.
Well worth reading, and when you've finished, let me know what you thought of the end because I'm dying to discuss it!