Times, Book of the Week:

“Into this culture of bodily fluidity - and anxiety - comes this timely, thought-provoking, and eloquent book… brimming both with warmth and insight, Francis puts himself among the ranks of physicians with fine pens, including Oliver Sacks and Atul Gawande, who, for all their learning, retain a deep humility.”


“Such is the breadth of Francis’s interests that Shapeshifters is never less than intellectually energetic… in each case, behind each array of presenting symptoms, there is a whole world of feeling and a style of understanding."

Sunday Times:

“The book feels like a cabinet of curiosities… His patients, above all, are beautifully observed. It is a delight just to wander through the museum.”

Scotland on Sunday:

“This is a fascinating account, full of detail that one would otherwise not know, and full of openness in terms of the difficulties, triumphs, disasters and glories of a career in medicine… what comes across, luminously, is the human”

Sunday Herald:

“Shapeshifters is beautifully written as well as extrmely absorbing.  I came away from it with a renewed appreciation for the wonders of the human body.”

Sunday Express:

“whether he’s writing about setting the bones of an eight-year-old boy in the Gambia, or counselling a man who’s abusing anabolic steroids, Dr Francis will leave you marvelling at the physical self you carry around with you every day."

New Scientist:

“As a family doctor, Gavin Francis has observed bodies at all stages, from delivering babies to being terminally ill.  In Shapeshifters he has been guided both by medical texts and Ovid’s Metamorphoses.  Francis finds the transformations of the body during life as fabulous as those in the Roman poet’s fables, which describe statues brought to life and humans turned into streams.

Village Voice:

“Gavin Francis makes being a doctor sound like the best job in the world… The 24 essays in this collection - on topics ranging from puberty and death to eunuchs and scalps - all circle the theme of metamorphosis, and shed light on the biases of modern medicine even while celebrating its achievements.”