In The End Book Discussion
Gabriel is having that nightmare again: the one in which he's trying to persuade son Ray not to take time off to pursue a girl in New York, but to realize his dream of completing medical school. It's a nightmare because Ray is actually dead from colon cancer, and this conversation was not limited to his dreams.
He's been angry with God and has questioned everything since his son's demise ("How could a wonderful, brave young man die at age twenty-four?"), with irony added because Ray's death was from a disease that lay in his physician father's area of expertise. Gabriel can't forgive himself for not being able to save his son, and the guilt and grief is ruining his life.
As Gabriel moves through Ray's life, death, and their relationship, readers learn there's more to Ray's world than cancer; and more to Gabriel's than being a doctor.
This isn't just a medical novel, however; it's a thriller that opens along the lines of Robin Cook; but with more social and psychological issues, which are explored in greater, more satisfying detail. Its progression from a seemingly singular experience to humanity's greatest catastrophe creates a fine cross-genre experience between medical novel, thriller, and sci-fi that keeps readers on their toes and neatly defies pat categorization.
From keeping a baby and a gay doctor's venture into coming out with patients and colleagues to gaining meaning from life by helping others, personal conundrums and experiences blends with new revelations about life and relationships in the face of death, winding nicely into a tale that takes off into space and features a probe of life that was once on Earth.
One doesn't anticipate the story line's move from the microcosm of a physician's experiences to the greater issues of extinction and interplanetary survival, but In the End does a fine job of providing many surprises about its real purpose and conclusions. It is a strong, compelling, multifaceted read that's perfect for those who like their stories unpredictable and thoroughly engrossing.
In the end, what matters isn't an individual life alone, but the entwined lives of millions and how they lived, loved, and, finally, let go.
- D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer
Midwest Book Review