THE INTERNS by Richard Frede


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A big city hospital, New North (New York), has a large class of interns and this novel makes the rounds with them during some six months of their physically exhausting, emotionally battering tour of duty; and again in off hours, with their girls or wives, so that it offers jointly a tremendous amount of clinical medicine and anatomical sex. If there is a safety in numbers- there is also the liability for the reader of getting to know a great many of them and not knowing anyone particularly well. Cumulatively, however, there are many scalpel-sharp scenes and since most of the time is spent either on OBS, GYN or Surgery, many dramatic moments. Certainly the most moving of these involves the long death watch over the victim of a terminal neurological disease, and his plea for the ""mercy aforethought"" which will ease his protracted torment and which is answered, whether deliberately or otherwise, by the young student nurse who leaves a bottle of barbiturates within his reach. And there is the involvement of vulnerable Art Rosconvitch in the attempt to keep from a young girl the inevitable consequences of a self-induced abortion, and to brighten her last days. And the interns themselves each provide a personal situation:- overserious Lew Worship; Aptshult, who substantiates one statistic (t.b.) while Elwood, the other (a crackup) for each class of 100 interns; Otis, who by stealing pitocin (an abortifacient), establishes his own out-patient racket to keep his girl in the luxuries she loves; Jay Fishbein, willing to give up the residency he wants in neuro-ophthalmological surgery, to make it easier on his wife; etc., etc. So that from these individual incidents, to the pathological and procedural detail (there's a pang by pang delivery), to the immediate and ultimate conflicts of a calling where life and death are the commodities, this has a great deal to keep the reader reading. But for those who remember Entry E. it will be a shock-resistant public.

Pub Date: April 14th, 1960
Publisher: Random House