Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures - WikipediaFew first books are fortunate enough to receive both high praise and big awards, but Vincent Lam's Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures deserves the attention. Celebrated by critics and awarded one of Canada's top literary prizes, Bloodletting is a masterful, smart and engaging debut collection of short stories. Part-time writer and full-time emergency-room physician in Toronto, Vincent Lam paints a three-dimensional portrait of physicians grappling with inner struggles, ethical dilemmas and hospital-room obscurities. The collection follows four Toronto doctors — Ming, Sri, Fitzgerald, and Chen — from hopeful undergrads to medical trainees to seasoned physicians. Through their experiences, Lam examines the myths and truths of today's health care world. The collection's four main characters are, in the end, practicing physicians, and "practicing" is the key word here.
Doctors in Distress
Winner of Canada's Giller Prize, Lam puts all the sex, and death and sleep deprivation crucial to any hospital drama in his debut story collection about doctors in the making. Thankfully Lam, an emergency room physician, looks beyond blood and guts to examine the conflicted hearts and minds of the four medical students sleepwalking their way through the required tests, dissections and all-night emergency room shifts. The stories trace an almost endless stretch of education and service that puts their stamina and skills to the test: Fitz short for Fitzgerald has a not-so-secret drinking problem, the fallout from which that lands him an unexpected job; Ming, the main cast's only woman, has a cold scientist's outlook that both aids and hinders her; Sri's heart breaks for anything that comes near his scalpel—be it a tattooed cadaver or a rambling psychotic; and dispassionate Chen struggles, like Sri, to balance compassion with his desire to succeed. The stories' quiet strength lies not in the doctors' education but in Lam's portrayal of the flawed humans behind the surgical masks. This collection made a big splash in Canada, and, as Weinstein Books' first title, is poised to do the same in the U.
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When medical student Ming misplaces the head of her cadaver midway through dissection, readers should be prepared for a graphic, yet touching and often tragic, glimpse into the challenges of a medical career. Ming and her classmates Sri, Chen, and Fitzgerald face a variety of troubling circumstances on their intersecting journeys to becoming physicians. Relying on his experience as an emergency physician educated and trained in this medical setting, Lam creates a comprehensive and realistic image of how his heroes tackle each malady presented. Using a combination of perspectives to tell their stories, Lam begins in first-person in one chapter, and then switches to third-person in another. He also incorporates three subordinate characters—two patients, Winston and Janice, and a nurse, Delores—to shed further light on his physician leads. Inner thoughts are set off in italics.