Donald experiences in the foreground the coming of an enemy that she learns to know, as many other healthcare professionals still do, through the eyes and lives of people who could not save themselves. As with many other healthcare professionals, she initially struggles to give this enemy a shape, a name or some kind of way to find and defeat it. What really distinguishes her from the rest, however, is her ability to bring together her professional knowledge, her practical commitment and her sense of responsibility within the pages of stories which cry out with one voice a desperate need for life, whatever it may be. Donald’s work wisely merges everyday situations, never free from their highs and lows, into a wider contemporary background which is now perceived more volatile than ever.
Cathy Donald was born in Port Elizabeth, South Africa in 1959. She has written for as long as she can remember – stories, scripts for plays and musical productions. She followed a career in Medicine and practised as a medical doctor in both rural and urban settings. During the Covid-19 pandemic, she has been involved on various fronts – within her general practice, in the hospitals and on a telephonic helpline. She has used her knowledge in this book but has also experienced first-hand both the anguish and the euphoria that healthcare workers go through over this time. She has written three novels over the past five years: The Reluctant Cuckoo (2016), Miles to Go (2018) and The Silence of the Shadows (2020), all of them celebrate family and friendship and the life-affirming values that mean so much to her.