Thursday 7 May 2020

The Waiting Rooms - Eve Smith

Swinging from South Africa to England: one woman’s hunt for her birth mother in an all-too-believable near future in which an antibiotic crisis has decimated the population. A prescient, thrilling debut.

Decades of spiralling drug resistance have unleashed a global antibiotic crisis. Ordinary infections are untreatable, and a scratch from a pet can kill. A sacrifice is required to keep the majority safe: no one over seventy is allowed new antibiotics. The elderly are sent to hospitals nicknamed ‘The Waiting Rooms’ … hospitals where no one ever gets well.

Twenty years after the crisis takes hold, Kate begins a search for her birth mother, armed only with her name and her age. As Kate unearths disturbing facts about her mother’s past, she puts her family in danger and risks losing everything. Because Kate is not the only secret that her mother is hiding. Someone else is looking for her, too.

Sweeping from an all-too-real modern Britain to a pre-crisis South Africa, The Waiting Rooms is epic in scope, richly populated with unforgettable characters, and a tense, haunting vision of a future that is only a few mutations away.

What did I think?

Maybe during a global pandemic wasn't the best time to read a book with a similar setting, as The Waiting Rooms scared the bejesus out of me!  Although I think even without the current crisis, The Waiting Rooms is so scarily realistic that you can easily imagine it happening.  

The Waiting Rooms is set in past and present and told from the viewpoints of Lily, Mary and Kate.  In the present day, Lily is living in a residential home and approaching her 70th birthday, however, 70 is not an age to be celebrated in this dystopian Britain as that is the age from which antibiotics are no longer given making even the smallest infection fatal.  Kate is a nurse and just beginning the search for her birth mother after the death of her adoptive mother.  The key to both Lily and Kate's lives is in the past as we read about Mary who is a research scientist looking at healing properties of plants in South Africa before becoming involved in a scandal that rocked the medical world.

Eve Smith has written such an exceptional novel that it left me completely gobsmacked.  I really shouldn't have been shocked but I was totally floored to discover how much of The Waiting Rooms is based on actual medical research.  It's so scarily believable that it's giving me goosebumps just thinking about it now.  This is a book that should have been way beyond its time but instead has been released at a time when it's as real as watching the news.

Hard-hitting, thought-provoking and scarily realistic, The Waiting Rooms should be on everyone's bookshelf.  This is absolutely outstanding writing from Eve Smith; it's almost as if her predictions have come true so I'm both fascinated and terrified to read what she writes next.  So highly recommended, The Waiting Rooms is a definite MUST read.

I chose to read an ARC and this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

My rating:

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