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Who Cares

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Length: 292 pages4 hours

Summary

Oscar Jacobs is a young university dropout in search of meaning. He decides that meaning in life can be found only in caring for others. He gets himself a job working as an orderly in a home for the disabled. Routine life at the home recalls unpleasant memories of his unhappy childhood at boarding-school.
Gradually, his middle-class ideals are slowly eroded by the realities of hard work doing the daily chores, as well as the crude pragmatism of his colleagues at the home. His empathy for the residents, and the extra time and attention he offers them, alienates him from the staff. Eugene Ledwidge, an authoritarian male nurse with an obsessive interest in the pursuit of mystical knowledge, causes some of the residents to be afraid for their lives.
Jacobs emerges from his journey wiser, albeit ultimately defeated and traumatized by the concluding revelation.
The interaction between the naïve Jacobs, the colorful and unassuming residents trapped in institutionalized routine, and the motley crew of unhappy, troubled and eccentric staff members, provides a strong undercurrent of grim humor bubbling throughout the novel.

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