Anatomy of a Miracle: Book summary and reviews of Anatomy of a Miracle by Jonathan Miles

Anatomy of a Miracle

by Jonathan Miles

Anatomy of a Miracle by Jonathan Miles X
Anatomy of a Miracle by Jonathan Miles
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' rating:

  • Published in USA  Mar 2018
    352 pages
    Genre: Novels

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this book

Book Summary

A profound new novel about a paralyzed young man's unexplainable recovery — a stunning exploration of faith, science, mystery, and the meaning of life.

Rendered paraplegic after a traumatic event four years ago, Cameron Harris has been living his new existence alongside his sister, Tanya, in their battered Biloxi, Mississippi neighborhood where only half the houses made it through Katrina. One stiflingly hot August afternoon, as Cameron sits waiting for Tanya during their daily run to the Biz-E-Bee convenience store, he suddenly and inexplicably rises up and out of his wheelchair.

In the aftermath of this "miracle," Cameron finds himself a celebrity at the center of a contentious debate about what's taken place. And when scientists, journalists, and a Vatican investigator start digging, Cameron's deepest secrets—the key to his injury, to his identity, and, in some eyes, to the nature of his recovery—become increasingly endangered. Was Cameron's recovery a genuine miracle, or a medical breakthrough? And, finding himself transformed into a symbol, how can he hope to retain his humanity?

Brilliantly written as closely observed journalistic reportage and filtered through a wide lens that encompasses the vibrant characters affected by Cameron's story, Anatomy of a Miracle will be read, championed, and celebrated as a powerful story of our time, and the work of a true literary master.

Read a Sample

Click to the right or left of the sample to turn the page.
(If no book jacket appears in a few seconds, then we don't have an excerpt of this book or your browser is unable to display it)

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!

Reviews

Media Reviews

"It's impossible to judge the book as something more than an enjoyable performance without discussing that revelation, but also impossible to discuss the revelation without spoiling some of that enjoyment. This isn't an uncommon reviewer's dilemma, but in this case it's indicative of what makes Miles's work, for all of its pleasures, so frustrating. ... Perhaps Miles's strengths as a writer, his comic vision and his largeheartedness, make him unable to resist engineering a happy ending .... and a neatly satisfying one for the rest of us. That's his right, and plenty of readers will appreciate the impulse, but this one was disappointed to see such a copiously talented writer pulling his punch." - New York Times

"Part of why Anatomy feels so expansive is that Miles takes every opportunity to delve into the characters' backstories, each one practically a mini magazine profile that touches on the person's worldviews, formative experiences, and unresolved questions. But this keen interest in people is part and parcel of a book in which the author describes humans as "extraordinary" at least three times. In Miles's world, everyone — not just the people shouting the loudest on the internet — is worthy of attention." - LA Review of Books

"Cleverly shaped as a journalistic report and told in a style similar to that of Ron Currie and John Jeremiah Sullivan, Miles' tale offers a nuanced and endlessly entertaining exploration of the age-old debate between faith and reason." - Booklist

"Well-drawn characters and their witty repartee help to give the book's wild and wacky events a very human frame of reference." - Publishers Weekly

"With sincerity and wit, Miles pens a strong, sardonic rumination on the religious boundaries of the miraculous." - Library Journal

The information about Anatomy of a Miracle shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's online-magazine that keeps our members abreast of notable and high-profile books publishing in the coming weeks. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author of this book and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

Reader Reviews

Write your own review

Maggie R. (Canoga Park, CA)

A Pleasant Surprise
I wasn't sure what kind of book to expect. A novel of faith? A true story of the fallout of a claimed miracle? No pigeon hole for this one! The main characters seem unpleasant but steadily gain depth and meaning. Well told back stories move the reader out of the suffocating small town setting and set up what is ultimately an affecting love story. Jonathan Miles convinces that it is all true.

Janet R. retired high school English Lit teacher

What constituites a miracle?
Jonathan Miles' new novel, Anatomy of a Miracle is referenced by the author as both a true story and a novel. Fiction or non-fiction? Like most novels it is a blending of both what could have happened and what did actually happen. Miles' writing is dense and none of it is to be skipped or skimmed. He packs a powerful right hook at religion, science, the medical field, and humanity sparing none of them from his gentle humor and alternatingly scathing attacks. All the characters are expertly and roundly drawn so as to make them come-along-side acquaintances of the reader. At the end of the novel one is left with the question, what is a miracle? This book is a must read. Particularly compelling for me were the descriptions of life in a war zone. But then, the whole book is - metaphorically speaking - about a war zone.

Ashleigh S. (Council Bluffs, IA)

Anatomy of a Miracle
Anatomy of a Miracle by Jonathan Miles took me by surprise! An inexplicable medical event and its impact on all involved, including Cameron Harris, the main character, really demonstrated our human need for faith, understanding, and just how fickle the world can be! I could relate to each character and their experiences. Their interpretations of a "miracle" was a mixture of our different facets as people: hope, need, disbelief, and a strong desire to know our place in the world. Anatomy of a Miracle is a surprising novel, one that rattled around in my heart for days after putting it down. Cameron Harris and his miracle isn't the only miracle found in this novel. I highly recommend this novel; read it and feel your heart grow ten times in size.

Patricia E. (Sugarcreek, OH)

Miracle or Myth
As the title suggests, Anatomy of a Miracle centers on a modern-day miracle. The story is told from the viewpoint of the recipient of the miracle, Cameron, as well as his sister, doctor, neighbors and various people investigating the validity of the incident. While reading, I vacillated between belief and doubt. Although the miracle takes center stage, the author also examines family relationships and the way each of us defines love. That, I think, is the strength of the novel. The author's balance of humor and drama also contributes to the book's success. Whether you believe in miracles, want to believe in miracles or cheer for the miracle debunkers, this book is sure to please.

Becky S. (Springfield, MO)

Wow
I couldn't wait to get back to this book every time I had to put it down! The character development was so rich, the story line so unique, the way the author wrote with foreshadowing of the next events that kept you hanging on to every word.. the subject matter constantly making me question my own beliefs on so many topics.. religion in general, miracles, the hidden stories of ourselves that we carry. The relationship between siblings and the secrets they share. The hunger that lies inside of us to see a miracle... to believe that God really exists. The petty attraction to "reality tv"... wanting to watch someone's life played out, but also the novelty to be watched.. just a great novel that's billed as a "true story"... and very easily for me to believe as one! Just hated to see this one end... I will carry the characters with me for a long time! Would be a great book club discussion book.

Ruth H. (Sebring, FL)

Miracle? or Not?
Well written, eventful book that one can't possibly put down! I so admired Tanya for all she did for her brother Cameron. She took on a lot of responsibility through all the tragedies they endured. I truly believe miracles do come from God, for He loves all of His children, those who believe and those who do not. His loving hand is open for all who wish to touch Him, no matter what your differences. Be proud of who you are and what you have done. I think I can understand where Dr. Lorimar- Cuevas comes from, science and religion don't always mix well. Doctors think they can cure all, heal all, know all, but sometimes Doctors don't always have all the answers when such miracles do occur. So, I was quite shocked when Dr Lorimar-Cuevas came up with her own theory for Cameron's being able to suddenly walk. This book has many twists and turns, I highly recommend anyone to read it to get all the details.

...33 more reader reviews

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!

Author Information

Jonathan Miles Author Biography

Photo: Erica Larsen

Jonathan Miles is the author of the novels Dear American Airlines and Want Not, both New York Times Notable Books. His latest novel, Anatomy of a Miracle: The True* Story of a Paralyzed Veteran, a Mississippi Convenience Store, a Vatican Investigation, and the Spectacular Perils of Grace, is published by Crown/Hogarth.

Dear American Airlines was named a Best Book of 2008 by the Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Amazon.com, and others. It was also a finalist for the QPB New Voices Award, the Borders Original Voices Award, and the Great Lakes Book Award, and has been translated into six languages.

Want Not was named a best or favorite book of 2013 by Kirkus Reviews, the Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Wall Street Journal, bookish.com, bookriot.com, and ...

... Full Biography
Author Interview
Link to Jonathan Miles's Website

Other books by Jonathan Miles at BookBrowse
  • Want Not jacket
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!

More Recommendations

Readers Also Browsed . . .

more novels...

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!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Small Fry
    Small Fry
    by Lisa Brennan-Jobs
    Small Fry is the debut memoir from Lisa Brennan-Jobs, long-time journalist and writer, and oldest ...
  • Book Jacket: The Winter Soldier
    The Winter Soldier
    by Daniel Mason
    Imagine the thousands of confounding cases doctors face routinely for which diagnoses are hard to ...
  • Book Jacket: Brother
    Brother
    by David Chariandy
    Brother is the brief, moving account of how a single, tragic moment in time can alter the course of ...
  • Book Jacket
    The Islamic Enlightenment
    by Christopher de Bellaigue
    In this comprehensive and well-researched history, de Bellaigue examines the evolution of Islamic ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Ninth Hour by Alice McDermott

A crowning achievement of one of the finest American writers at work today.

About the book
Join the discussion!

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    French Exit
    by Patrick deWitt

    A brilliant and darkly comic novel from bestselling author Patrick deWitt.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win The Clockmaker's Daughter

The Clockmaker's Daughter by Kate Morton

A rich, spellbinding new novel from the author of The Lake House. On sale Oct 9.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

T Turn T S

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

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

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.