10 Jun

In 1983, Camille Weller becomes the first black female doctor at Medical College of Virginia. During her first day on the job, she manages to save a patient who lost six liters of blood—enlisting her in a prestigious surgeons “club.” But will flashbacks from her childhood in the Congo paralyze her work—and her faith?

Best-selling author Harry Kraus, MD, is a board-certified surgeon whose contemporary fiction (beginning with 1994’s Stainless Steal Hearts and including his 2001 best-seller Could I Have This Dance?) is characterized by medical realism. He practices surgery in Virginia and formerly in Kenya where he served as a missionary surgeon. He’s also the author of two works of nonfiction.


My Impressions:

The Six-Liter Club takes place in 1984 Richmond  and 1964 Congo.  It is told mostly in the first person perspective of main character Dr. Camille Weller.  The third person accounts follow the actions of the supporting characters. Camille is the first African-American woman to be hired as an attending trauma surgeon at The Medical Center of Virginia.  She has successfully fit into the white, old-boys realm of trauma medicine.  But her new job, which she has been striving toward for years, leaves her feeling less than satisfied.  On top of her insecurities in the new job, she begins experiencing anxiety attacks that are related to her shadowy childhood in the Congo.

The story is compelling.  Camille is a driven, successful woman in a world dominated by men.  She struggles to find her identity:  through her career, her relationships and her elusive past.  She faces the fears that keep her from intimacy in relationships and finds who she really is in the process.

Overall, I liked The Six-Liter Club.  It kept me wanting to know more. However it is not a book everyone will like.  I was not comfortable with the sexual story line.  It was by no means explicit, but I was startled by the handling of the subject.  Kraus does not condone the extramarital activities of his characters, but does not shy away from incorporating them into the story.  Not your typical Christian novel, it may prove offensive to some. Because of this I will hold off giving it the Highly Recommended tag and just label it Recommended.

(Thank you to Glass Road Public Relations and Howard books for providing me a copy of The Six-Liter Club for review.  The opinions expressed are mine alone.)

Q & A with Harry Kraus

Q. How would you describe your life in only 8 words?

A. Child of GRACE, father, husband, author, surgeon, visionary
Q. What is your motto or maxim?
A. “Grace from the cutting edge”
Q. How would you describe perfect happiness?
A. Happiness is a state of mind when your soul is at rest, content to be just where you are, not perfect, but aware of being loved as a broken vessel.
Q. What’s your greatest fear?
A. The fear of self-deception, that I could walk around blind to truth.
Q. If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you choose to be?
A. I’ve always wanted to visit the South Pacific. Now would be as nice a time as any…
Q. With whom in history do you most identify?
A. The disciple of Christ, Peter. Sometimes bumbling, denying his Lord, but effective, passionate for the cause.
Q. Which living person do you most admire?
A. Too many to name…mostly servants of the poor who have chosen to give up lucrative medical practices to serve the poor in remote countries.
Q. What are your most overused words or phrases?
A. If I was aware of them, they wouldn’t be overused, would they?
Q. What do you regret most?
A. I regret the time I’ve wasted feeling guilty.
Q. If you could acquire any talent, what would it be?
A. To speak foreign languages fluently, perhaps Arabic.
Q. What is your greatest achievement?
A. I’m tempted to say my three sons, but I know that parenting is so unpredictable, that I really can’t take credit for their success.
Q. What’s your greatest flaw?
A. I tend to focus too much on the big picture and lose the details. “Honey, have you seen my wallet?”
Q. What’s your best quality?
A. I am a great idea person, not easily mired in all the possible reasons to fail.
Q. If you could be any person or thing, who or what would it be?
A. Someone that can inspire the next generation, speaking with passion and wisdom into today’s challenges….someone like Louie Giglio.
Q. What trait is most noticeable about you?
A. I hope that it is that I am approachable, not so caught up in the prestige of being a surgeon or author.
Q. Who is your favorite fictional hero?
A. Jack Bauer!
Q. Who is your favorite fictional villain?
A. Dr. Simons, from my first three novels. Motivated. Passionate. But oh, so wrong!
Q. If you could meet any historical character, who would it be and what would you say to him or her?
A. I’d like to meet the Apostle Paul and ask him questions about my life’s direction.
Q. What is your favorite occupation, when you’re not writing?
A. Surgeon. Is there anything else more fun?
Q. What’s your fantasy profession?
A. Fighter pilot.
Q. What 3 personal qualities are most important to you?
A. Integrity, generosity, faithfulness
Q. If you could eat only one thing for the rest of your days, what would it be?
A. I’m trying to think of the most nutritionally complete food that would allow me to do this without suffering….oh well, never mind…ice cream!
Q. What are your 5 favorite songs?
A. I love so many different songs, from contemporary stuff to old hymns. I don’t really have favorites. I do like “Third Day,” Matt Redman and David Crowder

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