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31 Reviews
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Straight to the Heart
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...
Published on Jan. 7 2008 by Anne Berndl

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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Clinically engaging.
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...
Published on June 15 2007 by M. Catalano


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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Straight to the Heart, Jan. 7 2008
By 
Anne Berndl - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Clinically engaging., June 15 2007
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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15 of 20 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A bit average, Nov. 14 2006
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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5.0 out of 5 stars I don't read much but I enjoyed this book quite a lot, Aug. 11 2014
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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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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Average tale of the medical world, Jan. 11 2007
By 
B. NH (Ottawa, Canada) - See all my reviews
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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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars First, Do No Harm!, April 1 2006
By 
bookworm (Riverview, New Brunswick, Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures (Hardcover)
'Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures' is an excellent debut collection of stories, especially "How to Get Into Medical School Part I". Lam has created a number of recurring characters that I enjoyed following throughout the collection. The relationship between Fitzgerald and Ming is full of tension and disappointment which Lam handles with a deft hand.
Vincent Lam is a writer to watch.
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17 of 24 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Dissonant, Nov. 18 2006
By 
G. Thomas (Toronto, Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is based on the first hundred pages or so (the first four stories), since I felt that was an appropriate amount of time spent waiting to be captivated, impressed, compelled to continue reading. Sadly I was not.

Reading this book has helped me to define the saying "Don't let the truth get in the way of a good story". To explain: it is obvious that Lam has taken stories or anecdotes directly from what he has seen or heard in the medical field. With this I have no problem. But I can see where his desire to inform impedes on the story. To speak musically, the leitmotif of his Take All of Murphy is the scene where the characters suffer the moral dilemma of either satisfying medical procedure and cutting through the symbol (tattoo) of a man's life, or harmlessly slicing around it. An excellent idea (in fact it was someone's summary of that idea which moved me to pick up the book in the first place). Every little inflection and melody of the story should revolve around this moment. But Lam creates great discord by straying from the truth and trailing off into exposition. All of the italicised parts of this story (where we are shown snippets of past interviews and such) should have been cut. There is an overall sense of weakness in the prose. A lightness. There is no, shall I say, muscle to it.

This critique serves well for the first four stories I read. Some had good ideas (for this Lam earns a star), but they were drawn out, lost somewhere in mediocre craft, poor pacing, and a missing sense for mood.
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointment, Dec 31 2007
By 
Dave and Joe (Toronto, Ontario) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
I bought the book some while ago during the heyday of it's hype. I picked it up after cleaning off the dresser and found it waiting to be read. I didn't remember much of why it had been so highly praised but because of that praise I was eagerly anticipating the joy of discovering the book. I typically like chapters with overlapping characters and shifting viewpoints, I like the build up to where the stories work together in some kind of satisfactory conclusion. With ten pages to go to the end, I gave up on that hope. Sure enough ten pages later the book just ended. Stopped. Without any real sense of what the author had to say, without any real resolution about the characters that I'd spent time with. Perhaps if I'd approached the book with lower expectations I would have liked it more - but that is a fairly damning thing to say, isn't it.
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Odd but good, March 16 2007
I bought BLOODLETTING along with two other book that were recommended to me, and all three were enjoyable (the other two were MIDDLESEX by Eugenides---great, by the way, and A LONG WAY DOWN--equally good). Of the three, BLOODLETTING was my favorite, maybe because I hadn't heard of it and wasn't expecting much. Given the popularity of shows such as "House" and "ER" that have made the rounds in the last decades, it's no wonder that this book would be so popular. The stories in BLOODLETTING are short and easy to get through and the writing, for the most part, was good. There were a few sentences that bordered on odd, but other than that I have no complaints. Would also highly recommend the book "Middlesex" as it is really different from anything you've read.
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11 of 16 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Strangely underwhelming, Jan. 16 2007
By 
T. Kharitonova (Calgary, AB) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I have read way more powerful and meaningful short stories in my life, and these, while somewhat intersting, at times meander and ultimately lose their point.

It's a rare gift to develop a character in such a way that the reader cares what happens to him/her in a short period of time, and sadly if most of these people died a horrible death I doubt anyone would bat an eyelash.

The stories are not particularly eye-opening, insightful, poignant or any other adjective that works for great writing. It's just a meandering stream of consciousness about people whose lives you don't care about. The fact that it won an award means little as most award winning books I've read were not that great. Same goes for a lot of classics.
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Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures
Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures by Vincent Lam (Hardcover - Jan. 17 2006)
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