There are very few novels which deal with the issues of contemporary medical ethics in the lively and intensely readable way which Hazel McHaffie's books do. She uses her undoubted skill as a storyteller to weave tales of moral quandary, showing us with subtlety and sympathy how we might tackle some of the ethical issues which modern medicine has thrown up. She has demonstrated that hard cases make good reading.
Alexander McCall Smith
From Tolstoy to Cronin, writers have raided medicine in search of the raw material of literature. How appropriate that Hazel McHaffie should be repaying the compliment by using fiction to help us grapple with the ethical dilemmas so often and so effortlessly conjured up by modern medicine.
Hazel McHaffie illuminates the novel moral complexities of the modern world with dramatic insight ... a great read.
James Le Fanu
McHaffie accomplishes something of great value for the reader … she exposes the potential for authenticity within intimate human relationships. This is a luminous accomplishment.
McHaffie’s books are skillfully written to bring out the complex ethical issues that we as doctors, nurses, patients, or relatives may face in dealing with difficult issues.
British Medical Journal
Hazel McHaffie, already an award winning author, has woven together authentic clinical details and ethical dilemmas with a lightness of touch that transports the reader effortlessly into the world of scientific medicine… these novels are accessible and compelling and will be enjoyed by general readers as much as by philosophers and health professionals.
[The author] has woven and moulded her extensive knowledge of ethics, moral dilemmas and clinical concerns with great skill into real life, everyday, stories of drama and tragedy.
Problems in medical ethics are not just for doctors but for everyone. Hazel McHaffie has found a way to bring them before a wide public. You are gripped from the very beginning of her latest novel, but as you turn the pages, you are compelled to think about the issues. It is an excellent formula.
Baroness Mary Warnock
Saving Sebastian is a thought-provoking novel centred around two families struggling with medical conditions and the controversial responses and outcomes offered by modern medical technologies. It raises a range of the social, ethical, and regulatory issues that are thrown up by regenerative medicine, but does so in a very accessible way through believable characters with whom you, as a reader, really engage. While it is (intentionally) a challenging book, it is a darn good read!
Dr Shawn Harmon, ESRC Genomics Network
This moving book will resonate with anyone who has ‘lost’ a loved one through the living death of Alzheimer’s.
Sir Cliff Richard
Throughout the novel McHaffie raises emotional and ethical issues: the use of electronic tagging devices; the funding for Alzheimer’s medication; balancing caring for a close relative and one’s own needs; and questions around the end of life … not as theoretical ‘thin’ cases, as are so often used in teaching in medical ethics, but within the richly characterised world of the novel. This makes Remember Remember a valuable resource for teachers and students of healthcare ethics. These ethical issues, however, are a natural part of the story and the novel is a good read from start to finish whether or not you have an interest in medical ethics.
Extremely moving and touching. This novel, I'm sure, will resonate deeply with family members and carers trying to cope with this most distressing condition. Recommended.
McHaffie offers a unique twist to the narrative of dementia. Each chapter of Doris' perspective takes a step back in time … What (the author) cleverly presents is a mind, and thus a prose, that gets gradually more and more coherent - the mirror image of a mind disassembling through dementia … What I will say to anybody who does pick up Remember Remember is: persevere. The first half may feel a little ordinary, but I think McHaffie was just readying herself for the second half. That's when things get interesting - in terms of structure, narrative events, and especially narrative voice.
At the Dementia Services Development Centre, University of Stirling, we liked this book so much that we arranged for copies to be given to about 600 delegates from around the world at our international conference. It offers inspiration and hope to anyone learning how to make things better for people with dementia and their carers. And for everyone else, it's just a really good read.
Right to Die
This heart-rending book about a young journalist who has all to live for but is dying from Motor Neurone Disease, is written with a rare understanding of the conflicts and horrors of such a death. Those who read it will understand why the law needs to be changed to allow assisted dying as an option for those whose quality of life has disintegrated and who wish to end their unbearable suffering.
This is an immensely sensitive and thoughtful book. It tackles in raw and compelling detail the deterioration caused by degenerative disease, while at the same time exploring the ethical issues surrounding assisted dying. The characters are real and attractive; their pain almost tangible. This is an astonishingly authentic-feeling insight with a highly articulate and intelligent central character.
...a fine novel that travels with courage into difficult areas: incurable disease, euthanasia, suicide, faith, loss of personhood, hope and, ultimately, the nature of love in the face of serious illness.
Journal of Palliative Care
We often talk about books being moving, but how many of them actually cause in the reader a strong emotional shift? We speak of books which make us think, but do they put such a fine focus on a subject that we come away feeling not only well-informed but having had our conscience exercised, or the working order of our moral compass checked? Hazel McHaffie's novel Right to Die does all this and more. It's extremely well-researched and very readable indeed, and as the issues it covers are highly topical and the questions it asks are hard ones, it's an important book, too … this is not a bleak book by any means because its essential humanity and empathy lift it above 'the mere facts of the case'. That spirit, coupled with a well-balanced handling of the medical, ethical and legal aspects of the subject and their careful presentation through character and plot, makes for a book that is absorbing reading and solid food for thought.
This is real life drama that's a cut above the stories you find in weekly women's magazines and it is hard to fault either the science or the emotions portrayed in the book ... Wherever you stand on the issue, it will give you food for thought and would be an interesting title for a book club discussion, given the timeliness of the particular medical-ethical dilemmas debated.
It is well written and researched … (and) presents issues of medicine, law and ethics in a very human and readily understandable manner … The characters – especially the health professionals – in the novel are well drawn … They are seen entirely from the perspective of the patient which illustrates for health professionals how their communication and clinical skills are perceived by people they treat.
British Medical Association
Right to Die stimulates (debate on) the ethical and moral issues brought about by modern medicine and the current law
The book is very well researched, with medical and legal facts sprinkled liberally, but appropriately throughout … I recommend [it] to anyone who is interested in exploring the euthanasia debate, or looking for an emotional read.
Farm Lane Books
… helps the reader understand the emotions and difficult decisions behind the disease. … Right to Die shows how ALS can affect personal and intimate relationships.
ALS Society of Canada
An admirable attempt to tackle the issue of assisted suicide through fiction.
Me and My Big Mouth
Hazel McHaffie interweaves a scintillating web of medical ethics reflections into her exciting whodunnit. Highly recommended both for the whodunnit and for the reflections.
I enjoyed Vacant Possession. What a tangled web! Enough angles to keep even the best ethical mind going for a week or two.
Double Trouble and Paternity
These two books are outrageous and you must buy them at once… Quite how the author manages to include donor insemination, child abuse, infertility stigma, genetics, surrogacy, PGD, mental illness and medical ethics into two narratively linked romantic tragedies I am not literary enough to know, but she does so in a readable and uncontrived way.
Journal of Fertility Counselling
...medical-ethical-romantic - an entirely new genre for fiction and an absorbing and fascinating one too.