Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures

Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures : Stories

3.51 (8,780 ratings by Goodreads)
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Winner of the 2006 Scotiabank Giller Prize An astonishing literary debut centred around four students as they apply to medical school, qualify as doctors and face the realities of working in medicine, from a powerful voice in fiction. Following the interlinked stories of a group of medical students and the unique challenges they face, from the med school to the intense world of emergency rooms, evac missions, and terrifying new viruses. Riveting, convincing and precise, Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures looks with rigorous honesty at the lives of doctors and their patients, bringing us to a deeper understanding of the challenges and temptations that surge around us all. In this masterful collection, Vincent Lam weaves together black humour, investigations of both common and extraordinary moral dilemmas, and a sometimes shockingly realistic portrait of today's medical profession.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 368 pages
  • 132 x 203 x 24mm | 340g
  • Canada
  • English
  • 0385661444
  • 9780385661447

Flap copy

With their scalpel-sharp prose and unflinching gaze, the stories in Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures introduce a powerful new voice in Canadian fiction.
In Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures, Vincent Lam holds in delicate and skillful tension black humour, investigations of both common and extraordinary moral dilemmas, and a sometimes shockingly realistic and matter-of-fact portrait of today's medical profession.
He brings to vivid and convincing life the disparate but interdependent worlds of school and home, heartbreaking young love and life-altering fear in stories that introduce us to Fitz, Ming, Chen, and Sri, young medical school students and doctors in Toronto.
In "How To Get Into Medical School," the impulsive Fitz and the ultra-rational Ming explore the possibilities of a relationship that is tested, first by the vigilance of a disapproving family and then by the extraordinary commitment demanded of medical students. In "Take All of Murphy," three students face the challenge of their first dissection of a corpse -- and the unusual quandary of deciding whether following the anatomy textbook or keeping a tattoo intact is more important. And in "A Long Migration," perhaps the most lyrical of the stories, we see beyond Chen's immediate world into the past of his family, and in particular that of his grandfather. Once a high-living and flamboyant member of the Chinese expatriate community in Saigon before the Vietnam War, now Percival Chen is dying in a Brisbane retirement home, and his grandson's modern medical recommendations must make way for older potions that arrive for Percival from an older world.
Riveting and precise, Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures lookswith rigorous honesty at the specificities of the lives of doctors and their patients and brings us to a deeper understanding of the challenges and temptations that surge around us all.
Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures is an astonishing literary debut, a collection of mature and intricate stories connected through the relationships that develop among a group of young doctors as they move from the challenges of med school to the intense world of emergency rooms, evac missions, and terrifying new viruses.
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Review quote

Winner of the 2006 Scotiabank Giller Prize Editor's Pick, Best Books of 2006
A Toronto Star Best Book of 2006 [A] masterly debut.
--The Guardian

[A] compelling first book of fiction. . . . It adds up to a running start at a high-voltage literary career.
--Toronto Star Lam excels at this kind of steady accumulation of truths, a tangling of action and incident that renders judgement of the characters difficult, and futile besides. The writing is often lovely . . . [and] some of the best stories in Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures read like journalistic dispatches from the medical front lines, with careful psychological characterizations added. As such, Lam's book represents a promising demonstration of fiction's unique power to bring the news that stays news, in Ezra Pound's formulation, and to allow the reader to see through the eyes of those who experience events firsthand.
--New York Times Book Review Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures radiates the confidence you expect from a man whose other job is to make stalled hearts start. The advantage of fiction? Here, even the medical failures come to life, vividly.
--The Globe and Mail Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures is a satisfying, engrossing read, partly because of the intrinsically fascinating subject matter, but also because of Lam's patient characterizations and understanding of the human heart.
--National Post Bloodletting is a swift, dynamic read. From story to story, Lam unveils his characters' lives in careful ellipses, leaving clues like puzzle pieces to twist this way and that, each detail eventually dovetailing to form a picture. . . . What makes Bloodletting so remarkable is its depth. The stories are entertaining on their own, but if you delve more deeply, you'll find human lessons sketched out with subtlety. . . . Lam entertains and educates with fluidity and style, and that just might be a miraculous cure of the literary kind.
--San Francisco Chronicle Lam takes us through the moral dilemmas of today's medical profession with dark humour but also with tenderness for the weak spots of each of the doctors. . . . [Characters'] vulnerable layers are methodically revealed through Lam's unique ability to make the reader meet his scientific pace. . . . The balancing act never stops.
--Newsweek There's no information like inside information, and Lam puts his to good use. . . . [His] fiction strikes a balance between clinical and emotional detail. . . . [An] impressive first book, by all appearances.
--The Ottawa Citizen

If you want to know what a person must go through to become a practicing physician in a Canadian hospital, reading this riveting collection will give you a better picture than if you pored over a truckload of treatises on public health.
--Calgary Herald A searing, perfectly paced set of linked stories. . . . Tender insight into the fascinating emotional and social implications of a career that is, inherently, so much more than a job.
--Kirkus Reviews, starred review Vincent Lam crafts sentences that veteran writers will covet. His fresh and stunning talent will satisfy all readers who hunger for powerful stories.
--Wayson Choy, author of All That Matters
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About Vincent Lam

Vincent Lam is from the expatriate Chinese community of Vietnam. Trained in Toronto, he was an emergency physician for thirteen years. He is now an addictions medicine physician, the Medical Director of the Coderix Medical Clinic, and a lecturer at the University of Toronto. Lam's debut, a collection of short stories called Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures, won the 2006 Scotiabank Giller Prize. His bestselling novel, The Headmaster's Wager, was a finalist for the Governor General's Literary Award for Fiction in 2012. He is also the co-author of The Flu Pandemic and You, which received an award from the American Medical Writers Association in 2007, and author of a biography of Tommy Douglas, published as part of the Extraordinary Canadians series. Lam and his family live in Toronto.
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Rating details

8,780 ratings
3.51 out of 5 stars
5 15% (1,349)
4 37% (3,253)
3 34% (2,945)
2 11% (990)
1 3% (243)
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