‘This pain, of all pains, cannot be palliated’: a doctor cares for her dying father

Dear Life arrives at a time when the public appetite for the personal accounts of medical insiders shows no sign of abating, with scores of such books having been published in recent years. Their enduring popularity is often — and, arguably, best — characterised as a kind of literary fallout from a decade of austerity and the very public ire this has drawn from health professionals. Rachel Clarke’s 2017 debut, Your Life in My Hands: A Junior Doctor’s Story, was written partly as a response to the 2015 dispute between NHS junior doctors and the then health secretary Jeremy Hunt, as well as the general impact of austerity measures on