Friday Firsts: The Sanatorium by Sarah Pearse

By: Manuela Soares

Hello all, and happy Friday! Last week, I came across a new (to me at least) Friday theme called Friday Firsts. It was created by Tenacious Reader and is used to spotlight the first few sentences/paragraphs of your current read and your first impressions. It’s meant to be a quick and easy way to share a bit about what people are reading. I did something similar a couple months ago that was fun and different from the usual Friday Favs lists, and who knows, maybe after a few times, people might be intrigued by one of these books and pick something up that they might not typically reach for.

So, for this, I’m starting out with The Sanatorium by Sarah Pearse.

“January 2015

Discarded medical equipment litters the floor; surgical tools blistered with rust, broken bottles, jars, the scratched sine of an old invalid chair. A torn mattress sits slumped against the wall, bile-yellow stains pocketing the surface.

Hand clamped tight around his briefcase, Daniel Lemaitre feels a sharp wave of revulsion; it’s as if time has taken over the building’s soul, left something rotten and diseased in its place.

He moves quickly down the corridor, footsteps echoing on the tiled floor.

Keep your eyes on the door. Don’t look back.

But the decaying objects pull at his gaze, each one telling stories. It doesn’t take much to imagine the people who’d stayed here, coughing up their lungs.

Sometimes he thinks he can even smell it, what this place used to be-the sharp, acrid scent of chemicals still lingering in the air from the old operating wards.

Daniel is halfway down the corridor when he stops.

A movement in the room opposite-a dark, distorted blur.”

First Impressions:

This excerpt is the first little page of the prologue (so it shows on my phone) and sets the stage for what I’m thinking is going to be a psychological thriller. I’m honestly not sure what this book is about. I saw it in the Libby app, and the book cover caught my eye and made it seem that this would be a good spooky book––something that I’ve been in the mood for. This opening certainly sets the scene for the typical abandoned hospital line, and since it opens with a date, I imagine that there will be some back and forth between times, so the story will likely feature the sanatorium when it was still up and running and potentially at its hay-day. Prior to the creation/discovery of antibiotics, sanatoriums were the long-term care hospitals for people, people who more often than not were suffering from tuberculosis. Which, if you weren’t familiar with the term sanatorium, was somewhat hinted at when the excerpt mentions patients coughing up their lungs––one of the main symptoms of tuberculosis.

I don’t know where this book will take me, but I’m looking forward to what it has to offer.

What are you currently reading? Have any of you read The Sanatorium before? What did you think?

Happy Reading!

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