A transplant patient possesses eerie knowledge of his organ donor's most intimate secret. This could change everything.
WINNER: Pinnacle Book Achievement Award – Best Literary Fiction
RECOGNIZED: IndieReader's Best Reviewed Books of 2017 – Literary Fiction
SILVER MEDAL: Independent Publisher Book Awards (IPPY) – Best Cover - Fiction
FINALIST: National Indie Excellence Awards – Contemporary Novel, General Fiction
FINALIST: Next Generation Indie Book Awards – Religious Fiction
Doctors tend to the needs of their patients, but patients give meaning to the lives of their doctors. So it is for Cullen Brodie, a twice-divorced California nephrologist, and Ennis Willoughby, a troubled cross-dresser whose life is saved by a rare heart-and-kidney transplant.
Cullen's bitter disbelief in the afterlife is tested when Ennis begins to exhibit tastes and characteristics uncannily similar to those of his female organ donor—whose first name Ennis inexplicably knows. When Ennis becomes convinced that the donor's soul has inhabited him, Cullen sides with Ennis's psychiatrist, who tells Ennis he has subconsciously confused his emerging transgender personality with the imagined characteristics of his female donor.
While his psychiatrist coaxes forth Ennis's female side, Cullen is summoned to the South Pacific by an old lover for a reckoning of their past. On the island paradise of Rarotonga, he is forced to confront the heartrending truth about a tragedy that destroyed their college romance—a tragedy Cullen blames on religious zealotry.
Filled with resentment over what he has learned, Cullen returns to Southern California determined to shatter Ennis's delusion of ensoulment. But Ennis's eerie knowledge of his donor's greatest secret forces Cullen to consider the unimaginable: Is it possible he is witness to a verifiable incident of transmigration, tangible proof of a human soul? Or is he witness instead to the miracle of being transgender? Male and female at once, the glory of one and the glory of the other, both shining—like a parrotfish, another miracle of nature, changing gender apace, beside its glorious, ever-changing hue.
MIDWEST BOOK REVIEW:
"As events spiral beyond [the characters'] control, readers are introduced to a questioning process that challenges them to consider the disparate paths of personal change and the possibilities of medical and religious realms intersecting in unusual ways. All these facets, especially the winding commentary on transgender identity and evidence of a soul, could easily have become confusing, especially when given an added shot of intrigue and the elements of a medical mystery; but under Barager's pen the logic of events and the evolution of personalities and new beliefs are impeccably drawn, and fascinating."
Evolved Publishing presents a fascinating glimpse into a world where medicine and religion/philosophy intersect, in a literary novel sure to fascinate, and quite possibly to entice you to examine your own beliefs. [DRM-Free]
More Great Literary Fiction from Evolved Publishing:
- The Daughter of the Sea and the Sky by David Litwack
- Hannah's Voice by Robb Grindstaff
- Enfold Me by Steven Greenberg
|Publisher:||Evolved Publishing LLC|
|File size:||898 KB|
About the Author
By day I’m a nephrologist, treating dialysis patients and kidney transplant recipients. By night I write fiction. I believe the two finest callings in life are doctor and writer, one ministering to the human condition, the other illuminating it, and each capable of transforming it.
I earned BA and MD degrees at the University of Minnesota and did my postgraduate training at Emory University in Atlanta and the University of California in San Diego. I live now in Orange County, CA.
I am a champion of the healing power of literature, and sometimes prescribe novels or short stories to patients to help them cope with illness. Fiction explores meaning in a way science cannot. Sometimes only fiction tells the truth.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Reviewed by Joel R. Dennstedt for Readers' Favorite The instant one gets past the nearly bloodless clinical opening of The Atheist and the Parrotfish, a most surprising novel by Richard Barager about a doctor and his transgender patient, the relentlessly engaging storyline grabs you by the privates and refuses to let you go. Impressively, the plot is less about the vagaries of transgender longings and obstructions – still, a vital part of this complex story - than it is about organ transplants and the possible transmigration of the donor’s soul. Ennis (Elaine) Willoughby, the central character, who shares both male and female longings and affectations, requires and endures at the ripe old age of 63 a dual organ replacement for his kidney and his heart, ironically provided by a full-fledged woman prematurely dead, a fact he should not know with such specific knowledge, but also delivered in his dreams accompanied by her name, Carla, which he strictly is not allowed to know. Ennis (Elaine) and now Carla are under the therapeutic care of a psychiatrist compassionate toward his/her sexual identification, but not at all toward his revelation of soul possession and manipulative transformation by the organs’ donor, and Doctor Cullen Brodie, the patient’s nephrologist, who simply does not believe in souls, much less God. Thus we have The Atheist and the Parrotfish (a natural sexual chameleon) as imagined by the writer/weaver Richard Barager, intertwined despite their opposite beliefs. Lushly charactered with complicated souls, several more than those already mentioned, Barager’s exploration of human relationships, beliefs, and compulsions creates an interesting tapestry of human interaction and emotion, and culminates clearly with a conclusion highly satisfactory to the reader.