Michael Freeman is a retired general surgeon, who now writes full time. He has won awards for his short fiction from the Arizona Writers Association and the Central California Writers Workshop. His debut novel,The Education of Jake O'Brien, was a Pacific Northwest Writers Associationn Zola Award finalist.
A God Far Offby Michael Freeman
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Frank Reagan is a surgeon who has seen so much of life's capricious cruelties that he no longer believes it can have a purpose. Moreover, his own history of failed interpersonal relationships has left him with a diminished sense of self worth and a conviction that he is incapable of finding and earning the affection of any woman informed by virtue and magnanimity.
When he takes on the care of Gerald Andrews, a patient with an aggressive form of colon cancer, he forms a personal as well as professional bond with the patient. This emotional commitment results in bouts of despair as Reagan watches a good man suffer setbacks during his surgeons's attempts at cure. At the same time, Reagan becomes involved with Crystal, a young woman working her way through physical therapy training as a performer at a gentlemen's club. The affair is predictably rocky, but Reagan persists in his courtship, recognizing a union that has the potential of affording him long term happiness.
The combination of managing a patient with a disease whose power to destroy renders every surgical triumph evanescent and pursuing the love of a woman who isn't sure of her feelings toward the surgeon results in Reagan's living through alternating periods of euphoria and depression.
After earning Crystal's esteem and coming to appreciate her religiously informed acceptance of the vagaries of the human condition while observing Gerald's refusal to surrender his humanity to the onslaughts of his cancer, Reagan begins his own hesitant steps on a path of renewal. In the end he sees his role of caring for a patient suffering and dying despite his surgeon's heroic attempts at salvage not as defeat but as a privilege and an opportunity to offer, in a metaphorical but powerful way,comfort to the Savior on the cross at Golgotha.
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