Dr. Vincent Lam: Background information when reading Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures

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

Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures

Stories

by Vincent Lam

Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures by Vincent Lam
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Sep 2007, 362 pages
    Paperback:
    Sep 2008, 362 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse Review Team

Buy This Book

About this Book

Beyond the Book:
Dr. Vincent Lam

Print Review

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 named Theodore.

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 writing until he had fully qualified as a doctor. Having accumulated a pile of rejection slips from literary magazines, he took a writing course at the University of Toronto and joined a writing group. He also enrolled in a correspondence program offered by the Humber School for Writers.

Around the same time he met Margaret Atwood and her partner Graham Gibson on board The Akademic Ioffe, a Russian scientific vessel leased to an Australian-based expedition company that takes nature-lovers to out of the way places such as the Arctic. Lam was the ship's doctor. After the voyage, he sent Atwood some of his stories. Atwood was sufficiently impressed with what she read that she passed the manuscript to the publisher of Doubleday Canada. The result is Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures, a series of interconnected short stories that won the 2006 Canadian Giller Prize*, making Lam the youngest writer to have won the prize. Shortly after publishing Bloodletting in Canada (Jan 2006), he published a nonfiction book with Colin Lee titled The Flu Pandemic and You (Sep 2006).

In 2007 he completed his first novel, Cholon, Near Forgotten, which is set in the Chinese community of Saigon. The story tells of Percival Chen, a character we meet in "A Long Migration", one of the short stories in Bloodletting. Chen flees from the 1945 Japanese invasion of Hong Kong, makes a fortune as a headmaster of an English school in Saigon and loses it as a gambler during the Vietnam War. In 1998, he is dying from cancer in Brisbane, Australia, receiving occasional visits from his children and grandchildren scattered around the world. The story is somewhat based on Lam's own experience caring for his dying grandfather in Brisbane, who had been a respected schoolmaster, gambler and womanizer. A publication date for Cholon, Near Forgotten has yet to be announced.


Interesting Links

*The Giller Prize is named for Doris Giller, a former book editor of at least two of Canada's major daily newspapers who died of cancer in 1993. Giller's husband, Jack Rabinovitch, founded The Giller Prize in 1994 to honor the memory of his wife. The Prize was established with the assistance of several friends - most notably the late Mordecai Richler, author Alice Munro, and academician David Staines. Entry is open to full length novels or short story collections written by Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada.

This article was originally published in September 2007, and has been updated for the September 2008 paperback release. Click here to go to this issue.

This article is available to non-members for a limited time. You can also read these articles for free. For full access become a member today.

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!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Rebellion
    Rebellion
    by Molly Patterson
    Rebellion overlays the stories of four women, spanning a century and the globe in their wide ...
  • Book Jacket: Genuine Fraud
    Genuine Fraud
    by E Lockhart
    Do we ever really know who our friends are? Or what the truth is? After all, truth, like beauty is ...
  • Book Jacket: Jumping at Shadows
    Jumping at Shadows
    by Sasha Abramsky
    In September 2015, fourteen-year old Ahmed Mohamed was thrust into the national spotlight when the ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
Being Mortal by Atul Gawande

An eye-opening and riveting look at how how medicine can not only improve life but also the process of its ending.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Love and Other Consolation Prizes
    by Jamie Ford

    Inspired by a true story, about a boy whose life is transformed at Seattle's epic 1909 World's Fair.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    The Twelve-Mile Straight
    by Eleanor Henderson

    An audacious epic set in rural Georgia during the years of the Depression and Prohibition.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win If the Creek Don't Rise

If the Creek Don't Rise

A debut novel bursting with heart, honesty, and homegrown grit.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

Y Can't M A S P O O A S E

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.