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  • Published: 1 May 2010
  • ISBN: 9781409075172
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 192

Direct Red

A Surgeon's Story

A rare, original and humane book about the world of doctors that will shock you, move you and stay with you long after the last page.

How does it feel to hold someone's life in your hands? What is it like to cut into someone else's body? What is it like to stand by, powerless, while someone dies because of the incompetence of your seniors? How do you tell a beautiful young man who seems perfectly fit that he has only a few days left to live?

Gabriel Weston worked as a surgeon in the big-city hospitals of the twenty-first century; a woman in a world dominated by Alpha males. Her world was one of disease, suffering and extraordinary pressure where a certain moral ambiguity and clinical detachment were necessary tools for survival. Startling and honest, her account combines a fierce sense of human dignity with compassion and insight, illuminating scenes of life and death the rest of us rarely glimpse.

Direct Red won the 2010 PEN/ Ackerley Prize and was longlisted for the Guardian First Book Award 2009.

  • Published: 1 May 2010
  • ISBN: 9781409075172
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 192

About the author

Gabriel Weston

Gabriel Weston was born in 1970. She went to Edinburgh University to read English and from there to medical school in London. She graduated as a doctor in 2000 and became a Member of the Royal College of Surgeons in 2003. She now works as a part-time ENT surgeon. She lives in London with her husband and two children. Her debut, Direct Red, was a Sunday Times Top Ten Bestseller.

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Praise for Direct Red

Her wisdom, empathy, morality and self-awareness are very revealing... Her writing is as incisive, precise and clean as keyhole surgery

The Times

A miniature masterpiece

The Times

A beautiful, haunting and upsetting book. Weston's prose is cool and elegant

Sunday Telegraph

Direct Red is Gabriel Weston's memoir of the years she spent pursuing a surgical career... She examines these with an honesty that is both brave and uncomfortable


What a terrific book. Gabriel Weston's voice is so seductive; her wisdom so fresh and earned, and unimpaired by sentimentality, and yet you sense her empathy - and scintillating honesty - behind every well-turned sentence. She leaves you feeling that if push came to shoveyou'd want to be operated on by her

Nicholas Shakespeare

A curiously thrilling read, written with an elegance of expression heightened by both its clarity and economy. Weston slices into sentences with scalpel-like precision


Concise, literate, truthful and often moving... as well-written and sensitive an account, by a decent, cultivated and highly intelligent person, of the glories and miseries of the practice as are likely ever to read

Literary Review

This is a compassionate, front-line report from what can often seem like alien territory.

Daily Telegraph Summer Reads

The practice of medicine is a way of living: vivid and engrossing, it stimulates senses physical and metaphysical...It is a rare skill for a doctor to be able to communicate this rich sensorium in writing. It is a delight to read the words of one who does it so well

The Economist

A superb account of life on the grisly front line of the operating theatre

Christopher Hart, Sunday Times

This slender, elegantly written memoir by a female surgeon, Gabriel Weston, is a fascinating, no holds barred account of life in the operating theatre


Through this insightful book, Weston succeeds superbly in communicating the fascinating brutal reality of a surgeon's life

Ian Critchley, Daily Telegraph

Gabriel Weston's story succeeds better than any I have known...more riveting and thought-provoking than any fiction

The Lady, Susan Hill

Glinting like a tray of instruments, her prose is satisfyingly precise

Victoria Segal, The Guardian

A curiously thrilling read, written with an elegance heightened by its clarity and economy

Elizabeth Day, Observer

A valuable and unflinching account, since it so clearly tells the truth

Christopher Hart, The Sunday Times

This book is mesmerising

William Leith, Scotsman

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