Following the critical success of Six Months in Sudan, James Maskalyk’s newest memoir, Life on the Ground Floor, won the Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction. Where his first book chronicled the six months he spent treating residents in the contested Sudanese border town of Abyei, Life on the Ground Floor provides perspective on life as an emergency room doctor. Alternating between ERs in Toronto and Addis Ababa, it becomes painfully clear to Maskalyk—and his readers—how fragile we humans are, no matter our differences.
Maskalyk’s prose is crisp, well-paced and insightful, taking a deeply personal turn as we learn of the care he gives to his dying grandfather in rural Alberta. Not just a story of medical heroics, Life on the Ground Floor ponders the meaning of health, good medicine, and living and dying well.
Roberts Creek resident Andreas Schroeder is the author of 23 books.