Friday, January 4, 2013

Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures by Vincent Lam

This book was quite difficult for me, because it is about doctors, and I have a problem with obsessive ruminations specifically about veins. So while I'm cool to get needles, thinking about (or seeing) what needles actually do affects me very strongly. Normally, I wouldn't have finished reading this book, with its graphic - albeit necessary - descriptions of medical procedures, but it was really, really good. So I read it. But I'm warning you, if you're at all squeamish (particularly about blood and body stuff), this will be a difficult read.

It is a great book. It has an interesting format, sort of part novel, part short stories. Each story is an entity in itself, and could probably exist alone, but the stories follow the same characters through the process of getting into medical school, and then their careers as doctors and their relationships with each other. And they are fascinating.

You know when you read a book, and you think, the author must be a doctor since he writes doctors so well? Or he must have had a relationship like this, because he writes it so well? Well I had that reaction to every single part of this book, including the pregnant woman (I'm pretty sure the author has never been pregnant, although who knows) and both sides of the romantic relationship between Fitzgerald and Ming. Lam has a rare gift for clear, personal writing across genders, backgrounds and emotional states. His characters are very real.

I am actually having a hard time putting into words how I feel about this novel. It is very powerful. The stories are frightening in their truthfulness, and their insight into human nature. This is the kind of thing people are talking about when they say "the human condition". That's what this book is about. The human condition, as seen through doctors.

I wish I could do it justice with my review but I'm having a really hard time. this book. Really, do yourself a favour and read something good. It's this book. Do it.

Five CN Towers out of five.

No comments:

Post a Comment