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Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures (Limited Edition): Special Limited Edition Hardcover – Deckle Edge, Aug 28 2007

3.6 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday Canada (Aug. 28 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385665458
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385665452
  • Product Dimensions: 15.1 x 3.2 x 20.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 540 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #515,494 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Amazon

Winner of the 2006 Giller Prize, Lam has assembled a collection of short stories that follows four characters from their student days, through medical school and into their careers as doctors. Ming is a perfectionist with a dark past and overbearing traditional parents. When she starts dating Fitz, she must keep it a secret from her family. Meanwhile, Chen and Sri, their closest colleagues, join them in cutting up cadavers as they learn the fragile mysteries of the human body. Lam’s prose reads as smoothly as a scalpel slicing flesh (despite a plethora of technical jargon) as he reveals the realities of operating and emergency rooms, air ambulance flights and maternity wards. Lam is capable of fine descriptions (the "melon color" of afternoon light) as well as striking awkwardness ("Entering the exam hall…from the whipping chaos of the snowstorm was to be faced with a void.") The power of these stories is his ability to allow the reader to empathize with both victim and healer. Although a few of the stories feel like scenes from ER, several work extremely well. A harrowing story about the SARS epidemic ("Contact Tracing"), set in a Toronto hospital, gives the reader an intimate, inside view, while a story that explores the mind of a psychotic ("Winston") can leave the reader feeling unnerved and groundless. --Mark Frutkin --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. 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.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Ian Gordon Malcomson HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on May 31 2011
Format: Paperback
For those who don't like the short-story format, this is not the book for you. While there is no big deciding moment that unifies all these unique personal experiences of young doctors in the field, Lam manages to convey a very real sense of humanity in his characters as they struggle to understand the demands of their very challenging profession. These are professionals who are forced to make decisions that are not always convenient or textbook in nature, while trying to meet the needs of their patients. I found this collection of literary vignettes on life in a modern hospital to be a fascinating read because they tell it as it is: not glamorous, downright disgusting, very stressful, and not always successful or popular. The benefit of having these tales presented in a short-story format is that the reader has a chance to select ones he or she can relate to: the first two dealing with life in medical school were especially appealing to me because I have always wondered what some of my friends have had to go through in order to become doctors, especially with so many personal issues crowding their lives. The story of how a young ER doctor deals with the emerging needs of a mentally disturbed patient is both humorous and enlightening. Overall, "Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures" appears to be an honest treatment of a very complex subject that can't be covered in some superficial novel-style like a Robin Cook medical thriller, because it is anything but. Being a medical doctor in Canada means being open to a maelstrom of unpredictable and quite often ordianaryy circumstances. Lam has the talent to present the mundane in such a way as to strike the reader as being crucial to the bigger picture.
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Format: Paperback
The author's style is stilted and clinical. The characters leave you with a faint taste of metal in your mouth or a squint as if you are looking at them from a distance. Somehow it all works. One shouldn't expect a book about a clinically detached scientific profession to read the same as One L for example. Different profession, different feel. If it were more empathetically written I'm not sure it would ring as true. If you are looking for the literary equivalent of a fast paced episode of ER or a soapy drama like Grey's Anatomy I suggest that you will want to look elsewhere though.
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Format: Paperback
Thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was a nice way to gain insights into the lives of doctors and med school students in Canada. A very easy read! You don't have to be a doctor to find it interesting or to understand the subject mater.
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Format: Paperback
As an Obstetric Resident, Bloodletting was like speaking to someone who truly felt the intensity of the day- to-day life of a physician. I couldn't put it down, and read the whole thing front to back sitting lopsided in an uncomfortable chair. His story "an insistent tide" stuck a particular cord with me, he did an excellent job of capturing the acuity of a cord prolapse and the emotions that accompany the shift from a normal healthy birth to an emergency situation. My heart was pounding. Well done!
-Dr. Anne Berndl, Author; "So You Want to Be a Doctor, Eh?"
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I found the book thought provoking and emotional.
Great exterior. A few pages in bad condition, but considering the price- it was a steal!
Good delivery time.
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Format: Paperback
As a medical student myself, I did not find this collection of short stories to be that powerful, captivating nor truly interesting. It was a quick read, but the characters weren't memorable. The stories are life-like, but seeing as I live this everyday, didn't find the stories too entertaining.

For medical stories, I preferred Complications by Atul Gawande. Despite Complications' documentary style, it was informative, funny and enlightening.
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Format: Paperback
This collection of short stories has some interesting moments, but the book is highly uneven, with some weak work towards the center that gets a bit better towards the end. This collection is not for readers who seek a memorable literary experience. The work is more akin to a reality TV show, and relies heavily on the drama that medicine affords gratis instead of literary virtuosity or masterful story telling.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Bought this book for school. I don't read much but I enjoyed this book quite a lot. Enough for me to actively get involved with discussions and write a final essay on it. Incredible book, I loved it.
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