Synopses & Reviews
In this suspenseful and finely wrought first novel, a young doctors encounter with a mysterious disease leads him to a crossroads between faith and reason
Not long into Michael Grants first year in his new practice, a young girl in his care unexpectedly dies. He might not have been able to change that outcome, but he didnt do all in his power to prevent it, either. So when Michael is asked to take on the dead girls father as a patient, he feels he must oblige the familys wishes. Examining the man, Michael notices an unusual pattern—a white, serpentine spiral—on the back of the throat and in his eye. But before a diagnosis can be made, the man is dead, the victim of a mysterious fire, and soon Michael himself is experiencing symptoms of the strange illness.
Believing that he has stumbled across a new disease but unable to convince his skeptical colleagues, Michael sets out to gather evidence. His quest takes him into a wilderness of disease, religion, and mystery, and becomes a journey that leads him to question not only his belief in the order of the world but his own place and purpose within it.
Lyrical, poetic, and utterly engrossing, The Laws of Invisible Things fully delivers on the promise of Frank Huylers critically acclaimed collection of medical stories, The Blood of Strangers.
"Chilling, subdued and scalpel sharp, this debut novel by the physician author of The Blood of Strangers (1999) a highly acclaimed collection of starkly realistic short stories set in the world of medicine explores the hazy borderlines of sin and disease. Just out of training, 35-year-old Michael Grant is in his seventh month of practice with an established internist in a medium-sized North Carolina city when the young granddaughter of an African-American minister dies in his care. Because he thinks he might have been less than thorough in handling the case, he agrees to honor the minister's request to examine his son the dead girl's father who is also ailing. The exam reveals a curious white tendril-like pattern on the back of the patient's throat and inside his eye. Regrettably, before he has enough lab work to make a diagnosis, the patient quickly worsens and dies in a house fire. When Michael begins to experience similar symptoms and almost dies, too, he is convinced he has encountered an insidious new infectious disease. Unable to convince his colleagues, the disease-ravaged Michael embarks with Nora, his senior partner's daughter, on a quest to identify the nameless scourge. Evidence leads Michael to exhume the body of the elderly minister's granddaughter, and the trail takes them to a remote mountaintop. Deftly plotted and rich with psychological and ethical nuance, this fine debut succeeds equally as medical suspense novel and understated morality play. (Apr. 2) Forecast: The medical thriller is a well-established genre, but literary novels with medical themes are rarer. Readers who enjoy the essays of Abraham Verghese and Atul Gawande will find Huyler takes a similar tack in fictional form." Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"This is no hospital horror tale, but an earnest inquiry into the ambiguities of illness and the morality of the medical profession....The intimate tone of Huyler's elegiac voice invites us to...think again about the things we think we know."--The New York Times Book Review
"A compelling, curious book with rewards on nearly every page."--The Economist
"Gripping...Huyler writes such subtly forceful prose...that his novel takes on a cool, uniquely powerful sense of dread."--Chicago Tribune
"[We] had better hope that our caretakers have meditated on the wisdom and compassion of books like The Laws of Invisible Things."--Boston Globe
"A cunning meditation on faith and its loss."--The San Francisco Chronicle
"Chilling, subdued and scalpel sharp...deftly plotted, rich with psychological and ethical nuance."--Publisher's Weekly (starred review)
Praise for The Blood of Strangers: "Very compassionate, filled with detail and just splendid lucid sentences."--Peter Carey"His prose is nearly invisible, and therefore it allows us to see what he is talking about, And once we see it, we are not likely to forget it."--Paul Auster.
Praise for The Blood of Strangers: "Very compassionate, filled with detail and just splendid, lucid sentences."--Peter Carey
When newly qualified doctor Michael Grant makes an error, and a young girl dies unexpectedly in his care, a mysterious chain of events leads him to believe that he may have discovered an entirely new disease. Unable to convince his colleagues, he sets out to gather evidence but is quite unprepared for the direction his quest will take him-into the wilderness of disease, religion and mystery-a journey that will lead him to question not only his belief in the order of the world, but his own place and purpose within it. With real suspense and subtlety, Frank Huyler's first novel is written with the spare precision and grace of his much praised collection about his medical experiences, The Blood of Strangers
About the Author
is an emergency physician in Albuquerque, New Mexico. His first book was The Blood of Strangers
(0-8050-6597-0) and his poetry has appeared in The Atlantic Monthly, The Georgia Review
, and Poetry.