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13 April 2014

Dr Craine's Body
Khalid Patel
Severest Inks
Publication Date
20 March 2014
short story

From Amazon:
A story about the destabilising nature of love. A scrutiny of society and life through the uncomfortable lens of death. An absorbing, unsettling portrait of a fractured psyche. A haunting yet beautiful subversion of the romance genre.
Dr Craine's Body follows a gifted, deeply unorthodox medical examiner as he battles with his unrequited feelings for a colleague, feelings that burn so deep they threaten to destroy his very being.
Constructed through innovative storytelling and jolting plot developments, Dr Craine's Body is a poetic, stark short that defies convention and arrests throughout.

If you want to read something a little bit different than give this short story a try. It is not for the squeamish though or those with a very sensitive disposition. 

Dr Craine is a pathologist, performing autopsies is his profession and the mortuary is his office. He is also deeply in love with Priya, his colleague. An unrequited loved, Priya is married and sees him purely professionally. Than something unexpected and tragic happened and Priya's husband is asking Dr Craine for help. What follows next is the somewhat unconventional ending to a love story. 

A short story has to establish character and plot within the first page and get us curious to read on, and I think this is perfectly executed here. I could tell that this Dr Craine is a little bit strange maybe, and the setting of the mortuary intrigued me. Not too many characters - Craine, Priya Lane and her husband, Dr Harvey Lane. It all happens quickly, but not 'without any reason or randomly'. 

There is this somewhat unhealthy obsession with his colleague, but there is also a lot of truth in Dr Craine's thoughts. 
'The doctor often found much irony in how analysing the dead gave him so much insight into the living'
'The doctor felt more alone in a crowd of people than he did among these corpses. The society of the dead cared not for wealth, nor appearance. they had no need to alter themselves to conform to standards.'
In my line of work, I often deal with deceased bodies / bereaved families, and we tell them that a post mortem examination, of course, has the benefit of hindsight. And when I get asked if I don't feel scared working in a mortuary, we always tell them 'the dead can't hurt you'. 

An unconventional story and that's why I enjoyed it so much. Unconventional love. Sick love? Maybe. Love doesn't die when the physical body dies. Should we judge how to love? 

About the author (from Amazon)

Khalid Patel is the British writer of cult, underground literature. His works are known for their subversive, unconventional qualities. Challenging narratives, unusual dialogue& beautifully offbeat prose are a staple of his writings. His words, also frequently laced with scalding social commentary & sneaky dark humour, wrenches readers out of their comfort zone for an unforgettable, jolting experience.

An English Literature graduate & culture junkie, Khalid breathes movies (particularly South Korean cinema), comic-books & videogames…passions which frequently seep into his works. He also copiously digs New York, pasta and wearing black shirts.

Khalid Patel advocates activism & the questioning of the status quo. He has supported greater rights for Burma (the birth country of his mother) long before the mass media began highlighting the brutalities & human right atrocities perpetrated by its military junta government. He is also a fierce critic of far-right, fascist outfits such as the English Defence League (EDL); he has attended anti-racism & anti-hate protests where he has engaged in running street battles with Neo-Nazis.

Khalid's stories are often laced with searing socio-political asides, quietly making his readers mull deeper issues whilst they're being entertained. With his writings, Khalid also seeks to disintegrate media-reinforced stereotypes of Muslims & people of brown colour. He is keen to raise the literacy rates of British South Asians, especially males, & hopes his stories more shall catch an interest in literature.

"This kid breaks some rules & he breaks them across people's faces… Khalid Patel represents a new age in fiction. He examines traditional fiction and turns it on its head with technology & innovation." Eryk Pruitt, author of Dirtbag.