Excerpt from Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures by Vincent Lam, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures


By Vincent Lam

Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • Hardcover: Sep 2007,
    362 pages.
    Paperback: Sep 2008,
    362 pages.

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book

Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse Review Team

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

Ming was offered four medical school interviews, and Fitzgerald none. She felt that this placed a protective expiry date on their relationship, and wondered whether they might hold hands sometimes—couldn’t this be entirely platonic and also somewhat comforting? More and more, she wanted to grasp his palms, his fingers. She thought of him while studying, which scared her.

Fitzgerald posed unusual questions to professors during lectures, which frequently provoked tangential answers. Ming found herself rewinding her tapes to listen to him ask these questions, and it bothered her that she wanted to hear his voice.

Because of the way in which her interviews were scheduled toward the end of March, Ming convinced her parents that the obvious thing was for her to travel to Toronto on Friday for her Saturday morning interview, then spend the weekend there and go to Hamilton for her Monday morning interview before returning to Ottawa. She insisted that she needed to travel without them in order to concentrate. Ming hadn’t asked Fitzgerald, nor had he made the suggestion, but between them they had decided that he would come to Toronto with her.

“You can help me prep for my interview. Afterwards, we’ll have dinner together,” said Ming. It was her reward to herself, she decided, this extravagant pleasure which was only possible in a city where she was a stranger.

“You get to choose the restaurant.”

“We might as well stay in the same hotel room.”

“Because of the cost.”

“I specified two twin beds.”

“Needless to say,” he added quickly.

After a pause she said, “Not to imply that you would imagine differently.”

He was her best friend and study partner, she reasoned, and therefore it was normal that she would want his company. Besides, it was her parents’ own fault that they would not understand this, therefore she would not tell them.

“Next question,” said Ming. It was one o’clock. That morning, they would travel to Toronto. They lay in their respective beds, in their separate homes, talking on the telephone. Ming was curled on her side in the dark. Her muscles ached as if they had been stretched beyond a natural length and then allowed to recoil into tightly wound balls. She imagined Fitzgerald lying on his back, the sheet of paper on his knees, the light from the reading lamp yellow on the page. She knew the paper he held, because she had given him this list of interview questions from previous applicants’ Toronto interviews. It had the pebbly look of a photocopy of a copy of a copy. He read questions, which she answered like lines in a play. Ming foresaw the aloneness of saying goodnight, and wished that she could hold him. Even so, she felt panic as if being attacked when, at that moment, he said, “Do you think that if things were different, we could be lying together right now?”

“Fitzgerald, this is the worst possible time for you to say that.”


“The hotel has two beds, and the only reason I agreed to you coming is because we’re unemotional friends, and you’re supposed to help me with my interview. Not get me all screwed up.” She spoke as if the idea of Fitzgerald coming to Toronto was entirely his doing.

“But don’t you wish we weren’t afraid of each other?”

“We need to go through all the questions once more.”

“It’s better if you answer them spontaneously.”

“For you, that’s the way. For me, I need to be prepared,” she said.

“It’s more honest if you just go for it.”

“You think they want honesty?”

“They’ll throw you questions that aren’t on this sheet.”

The above excerpt is the complete text of the short story "How To Get Into Medical School, Part 1" , pages 1-30 of Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures. Copyright (c) Dr. Vincent Lam, 2007. Reproduced with permission of the publisher. All rights reserved.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book:
  Dr. Vincent Lam

Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
Sign up, win books!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The Hundred-Year House
    The Hundred-Year House
    by Rebecca Makkai
    Rebecca Makkai's sophomore novel The Hundred-Year House could just have easily been titled ...
  • Book Jacket
    The Valley of Amazement
    by Amy Tan
    "Mirror, Mirror on the wall
    I am my mother after all!"

    In my pre-retirement days as a professor ...
  • Book Jacket: A Man Called Ove
    A Man Called Ove
    by Fredrik Backman
    Reading A Man Called Ove was like having Christmas arrive early. Set in Sweden, this debut novel is ...

First Impressions

Members read and review books ahead
of publication. See what they think
in First Impressions!

Books that
expand your

Visitors can view a lot of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only

Find out more.

Book Discussions
Book Jacket

The Arsonist
by Sue Miller

Published Jun. 2014

Join the discussion!

  1.  132Tomlinson Hill:
    Chris Tomlinson

All Discussions

Win this book!
Win The Angel of Losses

The Angel of Losses

"Family saga, mystery, and myth intersect in Feldman's debut novel." - Booklist


Word Play

Solve this clue:

E C H A Silver L

and be entered to win..

Books thatinspire you.Handpicked.

Books you'll stay up all night reading; books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, books that will expand your mind and inspire you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.