Preview: Bed S, or Raft of the Medusa

Raft of the Medusa is a critique of the health-care industry and a celebration of one of its inmates, who endures a noisy hospital room and being denied painkillers. Her husband takes revenge by imagining horrible treatments (tastes of their own medicine) for stone-faced clinicians on a golf course outside their window. Craving distraction, our heroine, the titular “Bed S,” consults with authority figures of a different nature, from Jane Austen to Tadeusz Kantor. In the end, to the surprise of everybody but her caregiver, the patient executes a tour de force, sitting up in bed on her birthday to improvise a sequel to Austen’s unfinished Sanditon.

Jane Austen, Sanditon (1817/1925)
Théodore Géricault, Raft of the Medusa (1819)
Tadeusz Kantor, Panoramic Sea Happening (1967)