Nestled in the Smoky Mountains of eastern Tennessee, the town of Johnson City saw its first AIDS patient in August 1985. Working in Johnson City was Abraham Verghese, a young Indian doctor specializing in infectious diseases who became, by necessity, the local AIDS expert. Out of his experience comes a startling, ultimately uplifting portrait of the American heartland.
odijooonpurpose, January 24, 2011 (view all comments by odijooonpurpose)
Abraham Verghese is one of my new favorite authors. As in /Cutting for Stone/, Verghese's compelling use of language pulls the reader IN to the heart of the story. I grew to love Verghese, in particular, his ongoing self-examination. He spots prejudice both in others and in himself, and is not afraid to look it in the face. He wrestles openly with difficult questions of balancing a passion and love for his patients with his family life which seems remote and isolated from his work. He is able to draw the reader in to the lives and deaths of each of his patients. I was drawn along, expectant, hungry, and then sad to see each vibrant personality fade as they reached their final destination. Stigma, bravery, defeat, bravado, shame, all make their appearances in this skillfully composed work.
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br6645, August 7, 2008 (view all comments by br6645)
This is a thoughtfully written first-hand account of the beginning of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the United States. Dr. Verghese was an infectious disease doctor in the tri-cities area of northeast Tennessee. Johnson City is a small pocket of HIV/AIDS infections, covering the gamut of high- and low-risk people. My Own Country describes each person infected with, and affected by, the disease. Each has their own unique story, and Dr. Verghese details their personal struggles, as well as family and community reactions, with insight, heartbreak, and humor. He gives names and stories to the first victims of this disease. They are your neighbors and your friends, not faceless people in far away places.
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