BLOODLETTING & MIRACULOUS CURES by Vincent Lam
Kirkus Star

BLOODLETTING & MIRACULOUS CURES

KIRKUS REVIEW

A searing, perfectly paced set of linked stories that explores the careers and relationships of four Toronto doctors.

Ming, Chen, Fitzgerald and Sri are young physicians whose lives intertwine both casually and intimately as they navigate the painstaking (and often painful) road to becoming physicians. We first meet Ming and Fitzgerald in Ottawa as they are studying for their pre-med exams and cautiously entering a relationship doomed by Ming’s career-obsessed immigrant parents, the ghosts of abuse by her older cousin and, above all, the knowledge that Ming will be accepted to medical school and Fitzgerald will not. He does follow her, eventually, but not before she has linked herself with a more appropriate boyfriend, her lab partner, Chen. The tension between the characters pales, though, when they graduate and begin their careers. Each must face situations that test their abilities, their integrity and their strength. A paranoid mental patient, for example, who is obsessed with his neighbor and also convinced that she is trying to poison him, causes Sri to momentarily doubt his own sanity. And Fitzgerald wonders how to care, both physically and mentally, for a hostile patient brought to the hospital in shackles by unsympathetic police officers. When Sri is diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, the tables turn on him, and his role as a life-saver ironically becomes futile when he cannot save his own. The stories culminate in a health crisis of a much larger scale, when Fitzgerald contracts the SARS virus from a patient, and then passes it to Chen, who examines him. The two wait in quarantine, once romantic rivals, now reliant on one another, and suddenly their profession seems to be at once pointless and more important than ever.

Tender insight into the fascinating emotional and social implications of a career that is, inherently, so much more than a job.

Pub Date: Sept. 4th, 2007
ISBN: 978-1-60286-000-1
Page count: 368pp
Publisher: Weinstein Books
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 2007




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