De Kerangal liberates medicine from the language that, by necessity, has constrained its practice – a language that, her omniscient but humane narrator tells us, 'banishes prolixity as time-wasting, forbids any notion of eloquence or seductiveness in articulation, abuses nouns, codes, and acronyms' ... The effect is heartbreaking; I’ve seldom read a more moving book.
The story unfolds in an intricate lacework of precise detail. Each character is introduced in particle form, and then the details compound until a wholeness is reached, a person takes shape and steps forward ... These characters feel less like fictional creations and more like ordinary people, briefly illuminated in rich language, beautifully translated by Sam Taylor, that veers from the medical to the philosophical.
...his translation throbs with beauty, sorrow and an undimmed astonishment at the life of the body. At one point Ms. de Kerangal gives us a bird’s-eye view of nighttime Paris rising up 'under a dome of corpuscular light.' Her novel is suffused with the same human glow.