Dr. Haggard's Disease

Dr. Haggard's Disease

by Patrick McGrath


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780679752615
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 07/28/1994
Series: Vintage Contemporaries Series
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 192
Sales rank: 1,182,596
Product dimensions: 5.15(w) x 7.96(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author

Patrick McGrath is the author of several modern gothic novels, including Asylum and Spider, and two collections of stories. He lives in New York, where he is on the writing faculties of the New School and Princeton University.

What People are Saying About This

William Erbe

Patrick McGrath is a highly unusual and extraordinary writer.

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Dr. Haggard's Disease 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Patrick McGrath was a guest on a radio talk show when I luckily tuned in. He was plain-spoken about his writing style, (gothic), and he seemed intelligent. That's all I knew when I ordered Dr.Haggard's Disease. The book is a journey into pain - both emotional and physical. If you haven't felt grief, then don't bother with this book. You won't understand it. But if you have suffered loss - really suffered - be prepared to feel that gripping chill inside your chest again. If Mr. McGrath had not been such a literate and compelling author I would have put the book down after the first sharp pang. I didn't and was rewarded with an achingly skillful story.
Bookmarque on LibraryThing 21 days ago
Spoilers ahoy!It is said that when a person dies, his life flashes before his eyes. At the end of this brilliant novel, that¿s the realization that flowered inside my head; this was that flash.Through ominous hints dropped at the ends of paragraphs, I thought I had a sense of where this was going. Dr. Haggard¿s psychological unraveling came on steadily and although you know he¿s an unreliable narrator, you are still surprised by how fast he came unwoven at the end. I¿m stymied in my attempt to review this book because it¿s so subtle in its power. The way McGrath chooses words is masterful. To wit this description of the boarding house where Dr. Haggard lives when he first meets Fanny ¿ ¿The front door, four or five steps up from the pavement, behind high spiked iron railings, was inset with a panel of stained glass and opened into a dark hallway dominated by a sideboard like a catafalque.¿ Now that¿s setting the stage. Not only does he convey what the structure looks like, but the feel as well. Catafalque. That¿s what does it. Not only is it McGrath¿s choice of vocabulary to establish mood and setting, but it¿s his foreshadowing technique. Spike is referred to often as something that has to be appeased, quieted and dealt with. We know Dr. H now has to walk with a cane. We know Fanny is dead and the affair ended. We suspect her husband, but all this is allowed to swirl in our minds; incorporeal. It¿s just one of the unknowns that so keenly provide tension and suspense. McGrath is almost without peer in this technique. Another aspect illustrating Dr. Haggard¿s growing mania his story¿s sexual element. At first during his narrative he is shy and reticent, always keeping the veil in place as is proper since he¿s relating this tale to her son. Over time though, the telling becomes more frantic and explicit. At times he seemed to shift and talk not to James, but to Fanny directly. It was disconcerting and made me squirm. Not in a bad way though. I love it when an author can command my response so completely.And where would a gothic tale be without its settings? First the hospital with its rigorous routines and schedules. Dr. Haggard is bound up so thoroughly in his work and pressures from his superiors that his new-found freedom with Fanny is palpably joyous. We revel when he does. Then, when all is over, he moves to a stalwart mansion perched on a cliff-side that will surely crumble in time. This perfectly mirrors Dr. H¿s state and reinforces the impending doom. The nearness of the war itself adds the final note of danger that can¿t be evaded. Fighter planes, bombers, soldiers and black-out curtains are important reinforcing aspects to the situation and his psyche. The ending is surreal and literally a bombshell. Perfect.
amandrake on LibraryThing 21 days ago
Like all of McGrath's writing, very psychological, and even weirder than usual. "Ick" factor present.
SqueakyChu on LibraryThing 21 days ago
Psychologically gripping. That¿s what comes to mind when I try to describe the feeling this gothic story of obsessive love provokes. The beauty of this book is woven together in its gothic setting, dark mood, troubled main character, and cleverly developed plot. Dr. Edward Haggard is a surgeon, living in England during World War II, who tells of his first his encounter and then love affair with the wife of Ratcliffe Vaughn, a pathologist at the same hospital where Dr. Haggard is employed. When the affair does not work out as planned, he finds pleasure in making the acquaintance of his former lover¿s son, James Vaughn, who is then a RAF (Royal Air Force) pilot whose mission is to fight German warplanes. It is apparent that, on some level, Dr. Haggard is trying to assuage his emotional pain by befriending this young man.I thought I had this book figured out, yet the story simply never went in the direction I thought it would despite events to come having been foreshadowed all along. The last paragraph blew me away. I should have seen it coming. I didn¿t.I pretty much knew that Patrick McGrath was a master of exposing a character¿s mental decline from reading his previous book, Spider. I¿m now transfixed with Dr. Haggard¿s story. For certain, I believe that McGrath is an extremely talented writer whose name should be more widely known.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago