Sensing Light by Mark Jacobson (Review)

Sensing Light by Mark Jacobson (Review)

Nov 20, 2016, 3:33:31 AM Entertainment

Sensing Light is the debut novel by Mark Jacobson narrating the story of three physicians spanning between several years from the beginning of the world wide epidemic previously known as GRID. Gay-related immune deficiency first appeared in the late 70's. Men presented in the hospitals with rare and severe cases of lung infection or aggressive cancer. People were frightened, desperate. Others were repulsed.

Amidst the medical chaos spread along with the disease our protagonist come together in a hopeless fight against an incurable disease that seems to have one thing in common, attacking homosexual men. Kevin, a gay man himself, has left his previous life in a home where he was not accepted to practice medicine as a resident in San Fransisco. At the same hospital, he meets Herb, an attending physician strongly dedicated to his work as a doctor who becomes a mentor figure for Kevin. Along side the two men will come Gwen, a divorced mother of a young daughter who is struggling with her loneliness and is looking for a partner to share her life with. The story begins in 1979 and as the epidemic evolves so do the lives of these three doctors.

Sensing Light is heavily based and revolves around medicine and a hospital environment. There are many references in medical equipment and terminology that create an appropriate atmosphere for a novel that discusses the AIDS epidemic. It is a positive surprise to see so many details and descriptions that are so well written in a way that bring Mark Jacobson's medical background into the spotlight. The medical parts of the novel were fun, interesting, well-written and made up my favourite part of the book.

Despite the successfully presented hospital environment, this novel unfortunately lacked in every other respect. The characters were extremely flat which was really a shame, as it would have made for such a great novel if the characters were more auspiciously conceptualised and developed. The personal dialogues - not the medically related ones -  were rather boring and blunt and did not add to the story. The plot thus felt pointless which was really disappointing because the novel starts in a promising manner but does not manage to develop properly. 

Overall, Sensing Light undoubtably makes an effort to present a very serious issue that sadly hasn't received strong attention in the fiction literature. It is medically sound and very well presented in terms of historical real life events and scientific information but definitely lacks when it comes to character and plot development. 

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Published by Lisa Skandali

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