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The Sun Doctor centres on Benjamin Halliday, a British doctor working in Africa who is returning to England to receive a knighthood.


However, he is tormented with feelings of remorse and guilt concerning the afflicted African tribe he was attending. He is also haunted by the early death of his father. The story is told mostly in flashback. It is based on the play Strange Providence. It won the 1962 Hawthornden Prize.

the sundoctor

Shaw's second novel tells the story of a troubled doctor who has been working in Africa and has returned to England to be awarded a knighthood. His problems stem partly from his alcoholic father who died prematurely (like Shaw's) and partly because of certain things he has done to - or failed to do for - the afflicted African tribe he was trying to help.

Laden with guilt, he goes through a personal crisis, and the bulk of the book is told in flashback.

It's curiously affecting and the African parts are particularly vivid - a real feat of imagination and research as I believe this was outside of Shaw's own experience. This is Joseph Conrad / Graham Greene territory and, while it has its flaws, it's well worth a read if you appreciate those authors.

"Consolidates his place as a writer, whole and proven and one of the powerful talents" - Daily Mail 

"Shaw writes with startling originality" - The Times Literary Supplement

"Shaw can command anything. This novel is funny, tender, exciting, reflective and ingenious by turns" - The London Times

"A certainty of touch and sheer intensity" - The New Statesman

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