Ernesto Durán is convinced he is sick. It becomes an obsession far exceeding hypochondria, and when Dr Andrés Miranda gives up responding to his letters and e-mails, Durán resolves to stalk him. The fixation has its own creeping effect on Karina, Miranda's lonely secretary, who cannot resist becoming involved. Meanwhile, Dr Miranda has troubles of his own: he has diagnosed his father's illness, but cannot summon the courage to tell him. In trying to find the perfect opportunity to break the news gently, Miranda ensures only that their relationship descends into farce.
Profound and philosophical, The Sickness is a tender and intimate celebration of life's little absurdities and unlikely alliances.
Dr. Andr s Miranda, a well-known advocate of "the transparent relationship between doctor and patient," has trouble following his own advice when his father is diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. Edifying digressions addressing economic injustice and the plight of women in a society dominated by machismo culture, as well as lengthy medical anecdotes, feel somehow forced, as though Tyszka (Hugo Ch vez) wanted to give the reader a little respite from the predictably voracious advance of the terminal illness, or Miranda's own oddly disassociated emotions when confronted with his rapidly deteriorating father. The novel gathers steam when Miranda's secretary decides to respond to the desperate e-mails of a hypochondriac, an ex-patient who has been stalking her boss, in order to avert a possible catastrophe. This parallel plot evolves into an engrossing dialectic, and is possessed of all the dramatic portent and subtle character development that are strangely absent from the main storyline.