From Publishers Weekly
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Praise for García’s Heart
“Liam Durcan raises complex and important issues in García’s Heart, exposing the frailty of human nature against the background of medical science.... An intelligent book, thought provoking and satisfying---a meditation on the workings of the mind.”
---Clare Morrall, author of Astonishing Splashes of Colour
“Eloquent and haunting, García’s Heart fearlessly explores the moral ambiguities of the modern world. Durcan demonstrates his supreme versatility with his psychologically penetrating, technically assured, yet empathic and human portrait of a man struggling to come to terms with a terrible angel.”
---Eden Robinson, author of Monkey Beach
“With this remarkable debut novel, Liam Durcan...has firmly ensconced himself within the hallowed ranks of doctors making successful forays into literature, a line running straight from Chekhov through William Carlos Williams and W. Somerset Maugham.”
---Quill & Quire
“Durcan’s language is sculpted with seemingly effortless precision. His sentences are rich with detail and metaphor, luxurious with reference and allusion, but also lean and raw, getting straight to the point of what he wants to describe.”
---Literary Review of Canada
Following his 2004 short story collection, A Short Journey by Car, Durcan's outstanding debut novel walks a taut line between skillful thriller and philosophical novel of ideas. Though he has yet to develop fully his authorial powers and talent, he already writes with an ease reminiscent of Graham Greene. Durcan crafts a character whose background in neurology and medicine--Durcan is himself a neurologist--deftly informs the action. Drawn from Montreal to the Hague to witness the war crimes trial of former mentor Hernan García, Patrick Lazerenko must confront a landslide of moral, political, and personal questions that haunt and confront him at all stages of his association with the Spanish immigrant and his family. As the plot unfolds, the novel takes on a breathtaking immediacy that will awe readers and tune them into probing ethical dilemmas. Suitable for all public and academic libraries.
(Christopher Bussmann, Pratt Inst. Libs., Brooklyn Library Journal)
*STARRED REVIEW* What prompts an honorable man to commit unspeakable acts? That's one of many moral conundrums considered in Durcan's compelling debut. As the novel opens, Boston neurologist Patrick Lazerenko has arrived at The Hague to witness the war crimes trial of Hernan García de la Cruz, a onetime physician from Honduras who became a mentor and friend to Patrick during his formative years in Montreal. Is it possible that Hernan, the man who inspired Patrick to become a doctor, once used his medical knowledge for evil, torturing political subversives in his native land? In his work back in Boston, Patrick researches the brain's role in the decision-making process. Might that cutting-edge expertise now help exonerate Hernan? As the trial moves forward, Patrick retreats into the past, recalling his affection for the García family and his love for Hernan's spirited daughter, Celia. Canadian neurologist and short story writer Durcan (A Short Journey by Car, 2004) renders satisfyingly (Allison Block Booklist)
A judgment on the world stage tests the ethical resolve of a scientist troubled by the crimes of war.
Canadian neurologist and award-winning writer Durcan (A Short Journey By Car, 2004) plumbs his stock in trade to inform this audacious literary debut, its purpose no less than finding a window to the soul. When Boston-based neurologist Patrick Lazerenko arrives inauspiciously at the Hague on a miserable November day, even his cab driver knows who he's here to see. The city is gripped by the trial of Hernan García de la Cruz, a Honduran physician whose alleged complicity in CIA-backed torture earned him the sobriquet, "The Angel of Lapaterique." The good doctor refuses to speak in the courtroom but Lazerenko's memories portray a once-decent man corrupted by the kismet of politics. In fact, García was once a father figure to Patrick, whose rough, ill-disciplined childhood was turned around by the doctor's care and attention. Far from his humble roots, Lazerenko has built a successful co (Kirkus Reviews Kirkus Reviews)
Neurologist Durcan (A Short Journey by Car) dissects the ethics involved when politics, medicine and violence collide in this finely wrought novel about a neurologist turned biotech entrepreneur who travels to The Hague to witness his mentor's war crimes trial. Patrick Lazerenko is a punk teen in Montreal when he first meets Hernan García, the Spanish immigrant owner of a neighborhood grocery store. Caught trying to vandalize Hernan's store, Patrick is roped into working off the damages and soon finds himself attached to the García family. When Patrick sees Hernan's backroom medical consultations with local immigrants, he is inspired to become a doctor himself. Years later, a journalist exposes Hernan-dubbed the Angel of Lepaterique-as having been mixed up in the CIA-backed torture of subversive citizens in Honduras in the 1980s. Parallels to Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo are acute (and even overtly identified) as Hernan is accused of witnessing and aiding in detainee torture. Subplots inv (Publishers Weekly Publishers Weekly)