Age of Iron
by J.M. Coetzee
We never actually meet Dr. Syfret, but he plays a key role in the novel: he's Mrs. Curren's doctor, and he's the one who breaks the news to her that she's going to die. In a way, his attitude towards her diagnosis shapes Mrs. Curren's own view of her predicament. She can tell that Dr. Syfret sees her as hopeless and therefore gives up on her. As a result, Mrs. Curren feels pretty darn hopeless, too.