Gabriel García Márquez’s Love in the time of cholera ends relatively happily when Fermina, Florentino, the captain and his lover raise the ship’s yellow cholera flag and are thus free to cruise the river idyllically forever. By contrast, cancer — the cholera of our day — often ends in painful reality, loss, death and grief. “We may say we are fighting cancer”, writes Julian Barnes in his new book, Levels of life, “but cancer is merely fighting us; we may think we have beaten it, when it has only gone away to regroup. It is all just the universe doing its stuff, and we are the stuff it is being done to”.
Publication of your online response is subject to the Medical Journal of Australia's editorial discretion. You will be notified by email within five working days should your response be accepted.