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The Easy Way Out by [Amsterdam, Steven]
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The Easy Way Out Kindle Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Length: 219 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Product Description

Product Description

A brand new novel everyone will be talking about from the award-winning author of Things We Didn't See Coming and What the Family Needed.


If you could help someone in pain, would you?

Evan is a nurse, a suicide assistant. His job is legal . . . just. He's the one at the hospital who hands out the last drink to those who ask for it.

Evan's friends don't know what he does during the day. His mother, Viv, doesn't know what he's up to at night. And his supervisor suspects there may be trouble ahead.

As he helps one patient after another die, Evan pushes against legality, his own morality and the best intentions of those closest to him, discovering that his own path will be neither quick nor painless.

He knows what he has to do.

In this powerful novel, award-winning author Steven Amsterdam challenges readers to face the most taboo and heartbreaking of dilemmas. Would you help someone end their life?

'There's something fresh and engaging about Steven Amsterdam's writing ' - Australian Women's Weekly

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 913 KB
  • Print Length: 219 pages
  • Publisher: Hachette Australia (30 August 2016)
  • Sold by: Hachette Book Group (AU)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B01EIEQ0Z2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #40,997 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)

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Format: Kindle Edition
4.5★
Easy for some, maybe, but not so easy for others. Pulling the pin, opting out, offing oneself with Nembutal is dicey enough that you might want someone there to make sure you wake up dead. That’s all very well for you, but, who would you lumber with that?

Steven Amsterdam is not only a good writer, he’s a Melbourne palliative care nurse, which gives Evan’s voice an authenticity others might not manage.

This is not a pro-euthanasia treatise. It’s Evan’s story of growing up with a gypsy mother, Vivian, whose habit was funded by the life insurance payout after his father died when his car “accidentally” ran off the road. She’s the kind of casual mum who takes off for a weekend, unannounced, leaving only a note, so Evan will learn to fend for himself.

He’s a nurse and works here and there and has a few relationships here and there, but now Vivian has an odd form of Parkinson’s, which they’ve been managing until they aren’t. She doesn’t quite take off for Willow Wood (nursing home) leaving only a note, but almost. (And she makes a run for freedom again later, but that’s another whole colourful whole story.)

Right after “Measure 961” passes, legalising assisted dying, Vivian spots an ad for Mercy Hospital seeking a nurse for a ‘pilot program’.

“My mother said, ‘This is the real deal. You’ve spent enough time with the sickness end of the business. Death is where life gets really interesting.’ ”

He ticks the box for no known suicides in the family, and is accepted. Mercy screens potential 961 candidates at length , filming and documenting everything, I mean every thing, and Evan has a look at some of his first customer’s conversations.

“He was clear at the start.

‘I’m done. Totally done.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I suspect some may find the subject matter of The Easy Way Out by Steven Amsterdam slightly confronting. After all, we still don't talk a lot about euthanasia and assisted suicide. Although perhaps we should.

We meet Evan on the day of his first 'assist'. He's been working on the program since Measure 961 was introduced - though his previous role primarily involved the psychiatric assessment of potential clients and logistical arrangements. It seems a natural progression then that he move into a newly vacant position of an assistant... liaising with the patient and their loved ones, and... ultimately passing the patient a cup of Nembutal when the time comes.

The plot of this novel unfolds slowly. We meet a number of Evan's clients and follow his mother, Viv's progression as she undergoes treatment. But this book is very much about Evan's journey. He supports the notion of euthanasia and is consciously cautious of protocols around the new legislation, but he's got a kind and fragile heart and soon finds himself crossing some boundaries he didn't expect to be problems.

Assisted suicide or euthanasia is a sensitive topic and one Amsterdam handles with compassion, respect and with humour. I enjoyed this engaging outing from Amsterdam - my first with the palliative care nurse, who most certainly knows his stuff.

Read the full review on my website: [...]

3.5 stars
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Last night I finished reading this. I took my time with it, because it is a book to linger upon. Every paragraph has an astute observation that is often oblique, and could be lost in your peripheral vision if you don’t watch where you’re going.

I’m not sure many other writers could have dealt with this subject matter – assisted suicide – as deftly as Amsterdam. It could so easily, in lesser hands, be mawkish or didactic or judging, but this novel is subtle and honest. The characterisation is masterful. The protagonist now feels like my best friend, and I am going to miss him.

Amsterdam is one of the finest authors writing in Australia today. His previous novels are wonderful, but this is in another realm. You really must read it.
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