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Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures: Stories

3.43 of 5 stars 3.43  ·  rating details  ·  5,766 ratings  ·  446 reviews
A prize-winning #1 bestseller in Canada, this literary Grey's Anatomy follows the careers and relationships that develop among a group of young doctors.
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Published December 19th 2007 by Weinstein Books (first published January 1st 2005)
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3.5 - I'm really. really surprised this won the Giller Prize. Another case of a Doctor writes a book based on his work history and the critics swoon, because it's not a world typical writers come from or an arena that they cover. A novelty act, almost. Some stories are interesting, but again, I would add it's not because of the writing per se (which is readable but plain, not spare plain, just plain plain), as much as the backstage peek at a Dr.'s life. Also, it just makes me mad when other prof ...more
This is an extremely interesting book, especially if you are acquainted with anyone who has endured the appallingly stressful rigors of medical school and lived to tell about it. Written by an author who has done just that, this book is a work of fiction that interweaves the stories of several aspiring young doctors and follows them through their professional lives. Along the way, he reveals them to be intelligent, ambitious, complicated, and very, very human. In other words, he tells his story ...more
This book has all kinds of impressive blurbs on the back cover, including praise from Margaret Atwood and Sherman Alexie himself (who has never struck me as the easy to please type) - I initially sought it out because of a really favorable review in Entertainment Weekly. Maybe all the hoopla led me to expect too much, but I just didn't see what the big deal was. Lam is a very skilled and nuanced writer, but it still seemed like most of the stories were more driven by plot than by character devel ...more
Allegra Hailey Green
So the last 100 pages picked up a bit and it wasn't as bad as I originally thought, but it wasn't great. The last two stories were really good concepts (doctors and nurses sick during the SARS epidemic, and what it feels like to really work an overnight ER shift) but I'm still not a fan of the style of writing. I think his best literary choice was to leave Ming and her stupid relationship problems out of the second half of the book!

I have two big problems with this book. In the beginning all th
Steven Buechler
A great examination of how doctors are normal people too. I just wish I had known about the Glossary of terms in the back of the book when I had started reading it.

Page 324
5:25 - Suddenly awake
"Dr. Chen."
A face, a curtain pulled aside, I can't see who.
"Dr. Chen!"
"Yeah I'm awake!" A panic, a heart-pounding proclamation, "I'm awake." Did I say that twice? I'm not sure what I said and what I dreamt.
"Brady at thirty. Pressure of fifty on nothing, ETA three minutes."
The voice I think it's a n
If I could give this book six stars, I would. This is a series of short stories/essays loosely connected through a group of medical students/doctors in the Toronto area. If you have some medical background you will no doubt identify with some of the vignettes (and not have to check the glossary at the back for definitions of some of the technical terms) but this would be a fascinating read for anyone. It justly deserved the Giller Prize.

I borrowed this book from the library after reading and enj
Neil Mudde
A great first plus Giller prize for Dr. Lam,, it gives one a good insight as to how to go about getting into medical school, never be satisfied with just 80% 100% is a must
A great insight into different cultures, Ming who is Chinese, is driven through her family to reach her highest potential, along the way she shacks up with Fitzgerald, who turns out to have problems, Ming is so organized and sets a schedule for Fitzgerald which does not allow him any free time, not wanting to give the whole st
Short stories are not really my favourite type of reading, but this was here, and I'd heard good things about it, so I read it. It was actually really good, despite having won a Canadian literary award. I found almost all the stories very interesting and quite compelling.

However. It still had the various issues that make me not really care for the short story as a form. Although you do get some insight, in the context of whatever the current situation being painted is, you don't really get to kn
Really good. I enjoyed it a lot and found the narrative really interesting and striking in some places. It's a series of short stories basically, each one has one or two of the main characters in and follows a loose timeline from the start of their careers and as they get older and more experienced. It's got a nice flow to it and Lam doesn't feel the need to smack you in the face with exposition every time the narrative jumps a few months or years, you can fill in the blanks nicely from the info ...more
This is a book of short stories revolving around 4 characters. We meet some when they are applicants, and others while attending medical school. We also see some unique cases when they are in their residency or later in their career. As a nurse, the jargon was not too impenetrable (although my area of practice is very far removed from the life or death pace of the emergency room) but I found that I was more interested in their interior lives, and as such I found the first few stories much more a ...more
The book is an easy, engaging read (it took me a few days). I didn't realize the chapters were meant to be interrelated short stories until much further down the work. It's an excellent "insider view" from a doctor's perspective, the dilemmas of those in the medical profession: the body politic of the health system, the de-sensitized conditioning necessary to meet high volume and demand, the inevitability of sickness and death, and the tension between remaining professional, yet compassionate, w ...more
It's Grey's Anatomy set in a hospital in Toronto. What it really is, a collection of short stories that follow the above mentioned characters while they study, learn, perform their duties and go on with their lives.

I admit, I was dreading starting this book, I was afraid that it would be dull and I would struggle to read it. But I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed reading each short story. I tend not to like short stories because I feel that I cannot connect to the characters, but
I really enjoyed this collection of short stories about medicine, especially because it's a career that I'm hoping to pursue. I liked that each of the stories were connected, even in small ways. However, I kept hoping that these connections would build to a satisfying overall conclusion, since the stories did not have satisfying endings in themselves. Unfortunately, this never happened and the ending fell a bit short for me. Overall an excellent read, but if you don't have a background in the me ...more
I believe there were a few things in this collection of short stories that were well done. For example, the chapter following the development of a man's psychotic episode was captured well. The first person point of view brought to light the man's inner thoughts and the distortions existing within them. I also found the chapter about the SARS outbreak interesting in that the short story was depicted from the viewpoint of healthcare workers and addressed their experience in handling the events th ...more
Carolyn Gerk
I didn't expect to like this book, once I had begun. I was thrown immediately into a drawn out chapter about the love lives of two young medical students and I had to fight off my eye rolling as I prepared for a literary Grey's Anatomy. Luckily, we moved into a swiftly paced collection of intriguing medical stories, of the doctors and patients alike, struggling under the weight of illness and ailment. Many of the characters are quite endearing and easy to connect with, though I admit the two cha ...more
Barbara Tiede
This, Lam’s prize-winning literary debut, deserves the same five-star review as my first Lam, last year’s The Headmaster’s Wager. ‘A sometimes shockingly realistic and matter-of-fact portrait of today’s medical profession’, this is a collection of 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.
Carolyn James
I've been on a weird medical mystery kick lately and I hoped this would satisfy my freaky disease obsession. I was initially hooked because the story happened in Toronto so it seemed more relatable then something from the states. I also liked how it followed four young doctors as they were attempting to get into med school. It had a kinda Grey's Anatomy prequel vibe that drew me in.

Then as the story got going I became confused. Narrative switched from the young doctors to patients of the doctor
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We all know that doctors get irritated with patients. We know that many of them enjoy practicing medicine -- they just wish they didn't have to practice it on other people. In some ways, it's understandable. Other people make lots of things -- for example, the grocery store -- quite hellish. But we are also all, at times, patients. This author asks us to feel compassion for the poor doctors who have to treat the sometimes unruly sick, but he feels no compassion for those uneducated, elderly, sin ...more
Lauren Simmons
Maybe it's because some of my best friends are doctors, or maybe it's because I've had my fair share of encounters with the Canadian medical system, but I LOVED this book. Shifting narrative viewpoints, compelling characters, interesting plot developments and nothing too predictable (except maybe the SARS bit). A really great book and easy to read quickly with the short-story style narratives.
John Hanson
Clinical writing at times. Sorry Dr. Lam *grin*

Throw a concrete topic like medicine at a short story collection, and you do lose that character focus so many "literary" readers enjoy and demand. The collection is time-phased: it follows young students attempting to get into medical school to a more mature, established practice setting.

The initial stories are more about plot, the actions. Inability to cut into a cross tattoo with a scalpel, learning how to study, the eternal triangles of medical
The opening thread in this book didn't quite capture my attention but then something clicked and I couldn't put it down. Finished it in 4 days. This one was a bit like scratching a scab, the raw-ness of the characters made you feel uneasy but you just couldn't help yourself, you wanted to see where they were going in their own minds.
To be honest, I was slightly disappointed.

The book follows four medical students in Toronto as they become doctors in a series of interrelated (but can be separated) short stories.
The topics were interesting, it was a great glimpse into the lives of medical doctors, but the writing didn't resonate with me. It was definitely written by what the average person would stereotype as a doctor - disconnected, with a lack of descriptions and emotion - things that serve a physician well, but not a read
I can see by other review dates that I am behind the curve in discovering this book. Having once been a pre-med student myself a lifetime ago, I found each of the short stories fascinating. Bloodletting is written in a simple, calm style that is appropriate to the author. Physicians are trained to be clear and competent in their work. Author Dr. Lam continues that with his writing. Each story can stand on it's own but really is part of a whole picture, that of the four medical students/doctors a ...more
A few years back, I had the privilege of attending a lecture by Brian Eno, in which the famed British musician/artist attempted to explain the purpose of art. "Art," he told us, "allows to you live out various possibilities without danger of any serious repercussions." He went on to elaborate that with painting and music—but especially with literature—we can move beyond ourselves, thereby increasing our ability to relate to others and to the world at large. In other words, art fosters empathy.

Anna Engel
The "story" is told via vignettes that feature the various medical students introduced at the beginning of the book. This is lazy on the author's part because he doesn't have to develop a story or its characters. He merely places them in situations, lets them do their doctor thing, and moves on. The writing itself is plain (but plain-plain, not stylistically so) and lacks any real sense of style or personality.

The inter-character relationships are not well-developed. I disliked almost all of the
Lauren Hartwick
I read this book on a whim and without any expectations and was drawn in very quickly. I thought it was one of the best books I've read in a long time but I am biased because I am:
a) a Canadian who enjoys stories set in Ontario's big cities.
b) a person who struggles with attention and benefits from short stories that weave together to create a bigger meaning.
c) someone who respects the medical field very much.
d) not someone who reads only for escapism or fantasy.

Vincent Lam is similar to Lisa Ge
Sunny Shaffner
This is a book of interconnected short stories about four young medical students in Toronto. I had this book on my bookshelf for awhile before reading it- the fact that the author was born in London ON was what eventually caught my attention and made me start the book. This was one of those books that I just couldn't put down. There is something very compelling and human about the way medical experiences are presented in this book. At the same time, there is dark humour used and sometimes things ...more
Abhinav Karan
Really, really fantastically written book. The first three chapters, How to Get into Medical School I, Take all of Murphy and How to Get Into Medical School II set a foundation and the world for the complex characters in this book.

What impressed me the most however, was the intricate way in which Lam shaped his characters. He had a sound understanding of human emotion, and every character was extremely complex. The strength of the book waned compared to the first half, but that can simply be att
Farah Ng
Review from Broken Penguins blog:

I remember being glued to Grey’s Anatomy when the show started. There was so much drama and excitement not to mention tons of sex. I still the remember the episode where all the hospital employees caught gonorrhea from each other.

But with so much of the show based on the sexcapades of Dr. McDreamy and his intern, we started to wonder who on Earth was taking care of their patients. And anyone who’s spent more than five minu
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