Book: Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures

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Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures

Author: Vincent Lam
Publisher: Doubleday Canada

With their scalpel-sharp prose and unflinching gaze, the stories in Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures introduce a powerful new voice in Canadian fiction.

In Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures, Vincent Lam holds in delicate and skillful tension black humour, investigations of both common and extraordinary moral dilemmas, and a sometimes shockingly realistic and matter-of-fact portrait of today’s medical profession.

He brings to vivid and convincing life the disparate but interdependent worlds of school and home, heartbreaking young love and life-altering fear in stories that introduce us to Fitz, Ming, Chen, and Sri, young medical school students and doctors in Toronto.

In “How To Get Into Medical School,” the impulsive Fitz and the ultra-rational Ming explore the possibilities of a relationship that is tested, first by the vigilance of a disapproving family and then by the extraordinary commitment demanded of medical students. In “Take All of Murphy,” three students face the challenge of their first dissection of a corpse — and the unusual quandary of deciding whether following the anatomy textbook or keeping a tattoo intact is more important. And in “A Long Migration,” perhaps the most lyrical of the stories, we see beyond Chen’s immediate world into the past of his family, and in particular that of his grandfather. Once a high-living and flamboyant member of the Chinese expatriate community in Saigon before the Vietnam War, now Percival Chen is dying in a Brisbane retirement home, and his grandson’s modern medical recommendations must make way for older potions that arrive for Percival from an older world.

Riveting and precise, Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures looks with rigorous honesty at the specificities of the lives of doctors and their patients and brings us to a deeper understanding of the challenges and temptations that surge around us all.

Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures is an astonishing literary debut, a collection of mature and intricate stories connected through the relationships that develop among a group of young doctors as they move from the challenges of med school to the intense world of emergency rooms, evac missions, and terrifying new viruses.

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