Short Take: “The Remedy,” Adam Haslett

Pros: Almost manages to live up to its high aim
Cons: Doesn’t quite pull it off
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Adam Haslett’s novella The Remedy (Dark Corners collection) is about a young man who can’t seem to find a cure for his physical and mental infirmity. His family is wealthy enough, however, that a friend has referred him to a special clinic and doctor, whose methods he can neither talk about nor explain. The young man visits the new doctor, finds the experience strangely uplifting, and waits to see how the final ‘therapy’ will help him.

The idea that some unique therapy could cure all these people when traditional therapy and medicines has failed is interesting, but it sets up an expectation that the story can’t really live up to. It comes about as close as it can to managing it, leaving some to the imagination, which is really the only way to approach something like this. But of necessity–or we’d have wonderful therapy like this available to us now–the author can’t really convincingly portray the emotional revelations the character goes through, nor the choices he makes along the way. It’s a good story, but it just can’t live up to its high aim.

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