Synopses & Reviews
Provocative, heartbreaking, and darkly humorous, Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures
introduces readers to a masterful new voice in fiction. A practicing ER physician, Vincent Lam delivers a precise and intimate portrait of the medical profession in his fiction debut. These twelve interwoven stories follow a group of young doctors as they move from the challenges of medical school to the intense world of emergency rooms, evacuation missions, and terrifying new viruses. Winner of the prestigious Giller Prize, Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures
marks the arrival of a deeply humane and preternaturally gifted writer.
Fitz, Ming, Chen, and Sri are the four ambitious protagonists of Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures. They fall in love as they study for their exams, face moral dilemmas as they split open cadavers, confront police who rough up their patients, and treat schizophrenics with pathologies similar to their own. In one harrowing story set amidst the 2003 SARS crisis, which the author witnessed firsthand, two of these doctors suddenly become the patients.
Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures invites us into a world where the ordinary becomes the critical in a matter of seconds. A formidable debut, it is a profound and unforgettable depiction of today's doctors, patients, and hospitals.
"'Winner of Canada's Giller Prize, Lam puts all the sex, and death and sleep deprivation crucial to any hospital drama in his debut story collection about doctors in the making. Thankfully Lam, an emergency room physician, looks beyond blood and guts to examine the conflicted hearts and minds of the four medical students sleepwalking their way through the required tests, dissections and all-night emergency room shifts. The stories trace an almost endless stretch of education and service that puts their stamina and skills to the test: Fitz (short for Fitzgerald) has a not-so-secret drinking problem, the fallout from which that lands him an unexpected job; Ming, the main cast's only woman, has a cold scientist's outlook that both aids and hinders her; Sri's heart breaks for anything that comes near his scalpel be it a tattooed cadaver or a rambling psychotic; and dispassionate Chen struggles, like Sri, to balance compassion with his desire to succeed. The stories' quiet strength lies not in the doctors' education but in Lam's portrayal of the flawed humans behind the surgical masks. This collection made a big splash in Canada, and, as Weinstein Books' first title, is poised to do the same in the U.S. (Sept.)' Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)"
"Direct in style, unsparing though compassionate in observation, subtle in emotion, and occasionally gruesome in humor, Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures follows four medical students from widely different backgrounds as their stories intertwine, as their illusions shatter, and as the meanings of many lives expand around them. The good news is that doctors are human beings. The bad news is that doctors are human beings. The other good news is that this book marks a stunning debut." Margaret Atwood
"Some stories ramble along...but most are action packed and insightful." Library Journal
"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
Following four young medical students and physicians, this debut collection of 12 interwoven short stories from 2006 Scotiabank Giller Prize-winner Lam is a riveting, eye-opening account of what it means to be a doctor.Hachette Book Group USA
About the Author
Dr. Vincent Lam was born in London, Ontario, and studied medicine in Toronto where he is an emergency physician at Toronto East General Hospital. Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures was awarded the 2006 Giller Prize. His work has appeared in The Globe and Mail, the National Post, and Carve. Dr. Lam's family is from the expatriate Chinese community of Vietnam, and his first novel, a multi-generational family saga set in Saigon during the Vietnam War, will be published by Weinstein Books in 2008. Lam lives with his wife and son in Toronto.