Review: Vague Pains

Image from goodreads

About the Book

  • Author: Zachary Lemon
  • Genres: Literary fiction
  • Published on: 1st September, 2017

I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


Henry, Tess and Thomas’s life intersect with each others. Their life is connected in more than one way.

Henry Beale is a young man who has spent a major part of his life lying in beds at Meadowview hospital. He has a philosophical mind and he often writes his reflections in a diary. His father’s death affected him deeply.

Tess Sloan is a doctor by profession who has been handed over the responsibility to handle one of the branches of Meadowview hospital. Tess is stressed out due to the fact that the clinic doesn’t generate the required amount. She is hopeful of its future but doesn’t know how to convince the CEO.

Thomas Klein is an intern in Meadowview hospital. He and Tess were in the same batch but due to reasons beyond his control, his graduation got delayed.

The common connection between all of them is, obviously, Meadowview hospital. There are other ties and events too which bind them.


‘Vague Pains’ is essentially prose poetry. It is the kind of book which will be more understood when re-read.

There is no definite plot in the book. The story focuses on the musings and pains of the various characters. The characters have not been drawn with precision. They have been given a past but only the most important event of their past life has been shown and that is what defines them. Perhaps, it was intended to be so. Hence, the book is about love, struggle, pain, hardships, doubts and disappointment.

The connection that I felt was with the characters mind and not with the characters themselves. Their reveries and brooding seemed more relevant to me than they themselves. At some points in the book, I felt that these different characters were projecting the thoughts and conceptions of one person, the silhouette behind the pen i.e., the author.

The views and opinions present in the book are very deep. The book has many lines that can be quoted. I have shared some of my favourite ones below. These notions do not become insignificant at once. I wasn’t bored while reading it and expect that you won’t be too.

My favourite character was Dr. Tess Sloan. Her doubts and perceptions make her natural and relatable.

If you are looking for something deep, something that will compel you to dive deeper, then I recommend this book to you. It isn’t very long and some lines of the book will stay with you forever.

Favourite Quotes

If you think about it, big beautiful flowers only get that way by choking off their neighbour’s share of light. The real courage is in choosing to shrink. I want to wither without trying to be seen.

There are always people who see your success as something that comes only at their expense.

Don’t try to force it when it’s over leave with your head held high.

Rating: 3.5/5


4 thoughts on “Review: Vague Pains

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