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 todays doctors, patients, and hospitals.
Readers will find Lam's stories far more grounded in reality than the sensationalized medical dramas served up all too frequently on TV - perhaps because Lam is not only an emergency room doctor himself but also does not own a TV! Although three of the four doctors who star in his stories are of Asian descent, ethnicity has only a peripheral role to play. Center stage are the small moral dilemmas faced by emergency room doctors every day, and the tension caused by facing a life and death decision in one room, and walking straight out to potentially face another in the next. (Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).
Written in a straightforward manner and including a helpful glossary of medical terms, this is a good addition to every fiction collection.
Starred Review. The stories' quiet strength lies not in the doctors' education but in Lam's portrayal of the flawed humans behind the surgical masks.
Starred Review. A searing, perfectly paced set of linked stories.
The Globe & Mail - John Allemang
This is Lam's first book, but apart from a too-deferential tribute to Margaret Atwood in the acknowledgments and a certain awkwardness in bringing each tale to a close - artistic symmetries and rhetorical crescendos being inconsistent, perhaps, with a scientific world view - Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures radiates the confidence you expect from a man whose other job is to make stalled hearts start. The advantage of fiction? Here, even the medical failures come to life, vividly.
The Toronto Star - Judy Stoffman
[A] running start at a high-voltage literary career that has received the endorsement of Margaret Atwood and Wayson Choy.
The Ottawa Citizen - Paul Gessell
Human emotions, not medical science, dominate the stories of Bloodletting. Lam has, in effect, put humanity back into medicine. That's a relief after [Canada] has just passed through yet one more election campaign where medicine was all politics, balance sheets, waiting lists and endless pain.
Sherman Alexie, bestselling author of The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven and Flight
Vincent Lam's book is amazing, beautiful, and painful. I cannot believe that a writer can emerge, so fully-formed and incisive, with his first book. This guy is a star.
Direct in style, unsparing though compassionate in observation, subtle in emotion, and occasionally gruesome in humor,
Recent Reader Reviews
Rated of 5
by Julie Riveting Read! What an outstanding book! I absolutely loved this multi-faceted story about four medical students, following them from their first years in medical school, then as they moved on to their internships, and finally as full-fledged doctors.
Each... Read More
Dr. Vincent Lam was born
in London, Ontario. His family
emigrated from Vietnam during
the Vietnam War and he grew up
in Ottawa speaking Cantonese at
home. He did his medical
training in Toronto, where he
now lives and works as an
emergency physician. He also
does international air
evacuation work and expedition
medicine on Arctic and Antarctic
ships. Now aged 33 but so young
looking that he claims he
sometimes still gets carded, he
is married with a 3-year-old boy
Lam made his first attempt to
write at about the age of 16
having read and reread Ernest
Hemingway's Nick Adams
Stories, which he describes
as "perfect". Due to the
pressures of medical school and
training, he did not return to...
The New York Times bestselling author of Complications examines, in riveting accounts of medical failure and triumph, how success is achieved in a complex and risk-filled profession
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