The Sickness

“The Sickness” by Alberto Barrera Tyszka (Venezuela)


Most readers liked this book saying that they found it easy to read, more so because of the style of writing and its length (150 pages) than its subject matter. They felt that the story had some universal themes (obsession, communication, death) and that it could have been set anywhere. A lot of the readers found the protagonist irritating because of his inability to cope with the situation: they felt he was egotistical and self-obsessed. They liked the parallel story of the hypochondriac patient who becomes obsessed with the doctor, finding that the two of them mirrored each other. There were mixed reactions to the secondary characters with some readers finding that they were not fully developed and others saying that there was enough information to get a good feel for them. Some of the readers were able to bring their own personal experiences of illness and death of a loved one to their reading of the story and this either helped increase their appreciation of it or else made them feel depressed. Overall, it averaged a 7.4 out of 10.


Ernesto Durán is convinced he is sick. It becomes an obsession far exceeding hypochondria, and when Dr Andrés Miranda gives up responding to e-mails, Durán resolves to stalk him. The fixation has its own creeping effect on Karina, the hospital secretary, who cannot resist becoming involved… Read more

Nicola’s Book Club reading list

Season 17 – “The Human Condition” (Feb – Jun 2013)

“Hustle” by Will Ferguson (Canada) *
“The Gaze” by Elif Shafak (Turkey)
“Goodbye Lucille” by Segun Afolabi (Nigeria)
“The Lake” by Banana Yoshimoto (Japan)
“The Sickness” by Alberto Barrera Tyszka (Venezuela) 

* The book club favourite
In italics, Nicola’s Coup de Cœur

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