Oxygen: A Novel


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The medical world fits into the book perfectly with a great lead character whom you instantly warm to, and want to fight for throughout the book. The first person narrative from Marie allows you to dive into her world, her thoughts and feelings and takes you right into the action of the operating room. A fascinating and at times emotional read with a breath-taking ending.

Oxygen Audiobook by Carol Wiley Cassella

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Jump to: navigation , search. Personal tools Log in. Categories Fiction Non-fiction Children's books Authors. Oxygen by Carol Cassella. Category: General Fiction. Reviewer: Chloe Spooner. Summary: A thought-provoking and fascinating insight into the medical world of anaesthesiology and how precarious the line between life and death is. A stunning read, and one I would definitely recommend. Nor is it a medical procedural, though the book pulls aside the curtains on the mysterious and frightening to lay people, anyway workings of the operating room.

OXYGEN is a story of tragedy and redemption, intricately plotted and told in a compelling voice that will keep you riveted to the page This medical mystery is told with lyric grace and deep compassion. Like her protagonist, Carol Cassella has the heart of a poet and the mind of a physician; the result is a striking meditation on the complexities of love, the fragile miracle that is the human body, and the burdens and blessings of being a healer.

Closing this book left me with a sense of wonder, gratitude, and hard-won redemption.

Oxygen by Carol Cassella

Open Letters Review "Oxygen is a fantastic book and manages in very few pages very nearly from page 1 to reclaim your attention. Heaton has with a hospital administrator who talks to her about possible negligence: Negligence. Duke University Alumni Magazine "We put such faith in the tools of modern medicine. Clinical breakthroughs and sophisticated technology seduce us into thinking that whatever ails us can be taken care of with a dose of medicine or a surgical intervention. But in the opening pages of Carol Cassella's debut novel, Oxygen, we're reminded of the fragile hold we have on life.

Given her clear-eyed understanding of the medical profession, one hopes that like Gawande, she will provide us with further opportunities to peer into the mysterious and unpredictable nature of the human condition.

Failure's No Success at All

I was amazed to find that this is Cassella's first book. Her 25 years in the medical field were used to good effect; the medical and scientific information was fascinating and comprehensible, as were the descriptions of the grueling job of anesthesiologist. The plotting was complex, twisty and plausible; and there was a surprising resolution that knocked my socks off. To sum it up in one word: Wow! Marie Heaton, the protagonist, is also an anesthesiologist at Lutheran Hospital in Seattle.

The trick is to keep breathing

The book will give you an inside look at what makes doctors tick and how they interact with one another. This story is part mystery, part love story, part what-is-the-meaning-of-life story. Not only will the story keep you reading into the night, the prose is lyrical. That is the only word to describe this book. Quality Book Reviews "The author of this book is an anesthesiologist and she writes with detail and tells the story in the first person. The author has superbly penned a suspenseful story and has the capability of drawing her reader in and keeping you on the edge.

The story itself was incredibly interesting and also very emotional as well.

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Because the main crux of the story involves the death of a young child, the start of the book can be quite hard to read, and as a parent it did really strike a chord with me and I found it particularly difficult. But Cassella approached the whole issue with such compassion and feeling for both parties involved that it was delicately done and not at all brash for the reader.

It is clear that these scenes were written with care and emotion, and this translates into how well it comes across when you read the story. The main theme of the story is the legal case involving Marie, the hospital at which she works, and the mother of the deceased child. It was very interesting to read how a medical legal case unfolds, and exactly the amount of detail required in such cases.

I find it difficult to comprehend that medical professionals would be sued for doing their job but in America this is a common practice in such cases. But the way a respected doctor can be trashed with just a few words and actions is amazing, and I really felt for Marie throughout the book. It is clear that she is totally passionate about her job, and the case has shaken her confidence so badly, and for this you really feel for her.

The author does manage to balance the medical with Marie's personal life as well. We are party to her thinking involving the case, her colleagues, her ex-lover and colleague Joe Hillary and her troubled family as well.


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  • Marie does go to stay with her sister and her family, and there we see a different side to her which was a nice change of pace for the reader. I really enjoyed these scenes, although at times I did feel it went on a tad too long and I was wanting to get back to the case again!

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