Nicholas Anderton is a successful neurosurgeon, married to a lawyer, with two adult children. But he is also grappling with obesity after a series of crises in his personal and professional life. Now, his weight is threatening his ability to do his job. His wife, Alyson, is not inclined to be supportive and is dealing with issues of her own.
Nicholas is a complex and contradictory character. He is an accomplished neurosurgeon but has little time for philosophical discussions on the nature of the mind, preferring to see himself as more like his butcher father – good with his hands, with an instinctive understanding of anatomy. He has succeeded in a profession that requires great discipline and stamina but he is unable to stop himself from eating.
The story is told in alternating chapters from Nicholas and Alyson, though we only see Alyson at home, and hear about her life as it relates to her husband. Perhaps this reflects how Nicholas sees her, his curiosity limited to how she affects him.
Nicholas spends his day looking deep into the brains of others but his own remains mysterious to him. How far are we shaped by our minds, and how far by the confines of our body?
This slim novel asks some big questions, with compassion, wry humour and elegant, understated prose.
I received a copy of Inside the Bone Box from the publisher via Netgalley.
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