The Tennis Partner : A Doctor's Story of Friendship and Loss
In 1991, Abraham Verghese moved west, bringing his wife and two young sons to the border town of El Paso, Texas. There he crossed paths with David Smith, a medical student who came to America from Australia on a tennis scholarship and played briefly on the pro tour before deciding to become a doctor. Recognizing some spark of commonality - perhaps just that of two strangers on the very edge of America - Verghese cajoled him into playing tennis again.On the wards, Verghese is teacher and mentor as he guides David through difficult and sometimes colorful clinical problems seen in a county hospital. He teaches him how to read the signs from the human body, to use his hands to percuss, and to use his mind to listen. On the tennis court, their roles are reversed: The clinician becomes the student - almost. David helps Verghese hone his strokes and sharpen his game. But Verghese, a compulsive collector since childhood of tennis lore and trivia, a compiler of notebooks on tennis heroes, ephemeral styles, and trendy strategies, rekindles David's love for the game, a love burnt out by the brutal competitiveness of the professional circuit. Perhaps this is how friendships between men are born: at work and at play.Against the stubborn, unyielding backdrop of the desert, their relationship grows increasingly rich and complex, more intimate than two men usually allow.Just when it seems that nothing can go wrong, that friendship will be able to conquer all, the dark beast from David's past emerges once again. As Verghese scrambles to rescue him, David proves that he is friend to everyone but himself. When David spirals out of control, almost everything Verghese has come to trust and believe in is threatened. It is a defining moment, the kind each of us must eventually face - it is from such adversity that our lives are carved.
- Hardback | 345 pages
- 162.56 x 238.76 x 33.02mm | 771.1g
- 01 Sep 1998
- HarperCollins Publishers Inc
- New York, NY, United States