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Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures: Stories

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3.47  ·  Rating details ·  7,134 Ratings  ·  520 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.
ebook, 0 pages
Published December 19th 2007 by Weinstein Books (first published January 1st 2005)
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Community Reviews

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Kyla
Mar 15, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sue
Oct 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: medicine
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
Rosa
Oct 24, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 S
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
...more
Graham Wilhauk
This book was so good and so disappointing at the same time.

The first 100 pages of this intertwined short story collection knocked my socks off. The way that Lam introduced these characters and their situations and lives was incredible. However, what did Lam do as an author to keep the reader's interest? Well, he dropped a ton of potential storylines in order to go completely episodic and only decides to go back to the plots introduced at the beginning in the last 60 pages of the book at a very
...more
Saleh MoonWalker
This is Lam's first book, but apart from a too-deferential tribute to Margaret Atwood in the acknowledgments and a certain awkwardness in bringing each tale to a close - artistic symmetries and rhetorical crescendos being inconsistent, perhaps, with a scientific world view - Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures radiates the confidence you expect from a man whose other job is to make stalled hearts start. The advantage of fiction? Here, even the medical failures come to life, vividly.
Steven Buechler
Jun 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
"Unnhh?"
"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
...more
♛ Heather
Feb 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourite
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
Colleen Earle
Really fascinating novel
Liked how it was connected short stories.
Deals with mortality, complexities on medicine, alcoholism and lost loves
Characters have great dimension and are very real.
Parts about SARS were the second hardest to read.
Working in a hospital has definitely given me a different perspective on this novel than it would have otherwise.
Excellent.
Jennifer
May 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Amazing. Couldn't put it down!
Lisa Bacque
Interesting read but overall fairly depressing and I felt like there were some stories left unfinished at the end.
Hidaya Alatas
Jan 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Tina
Sep 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorite
this book single handedly rekindled my drive to study medicine again. loveee
kingshearte
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
...more
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
...more
Sam
Feb 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book has been sitting on my shelves for the better part of a decade. I bought it during my brief phase where I was convinced I wanted to go into the medical field (before remembering that I'm terrified of all bodily fluids and hate people), and once that phase had passed, never got around to reading it. I'm glad that I finally picked it up, because I absolutely loved it!

The interconnected stories in this collection follow four doctors through various stages in their careers, as their lives
...more
Julia
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
Lyn Zuberbuhler
Jul 30, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Initially I was a bit surprised by the format: a group of short stories held together by four characters, with the common goal of becoming physicians. However, the stories became more connected as the four progressed with their lives and careers. The stories do portray the challenges of becoming a physician, from the initial screening process, through the various idiosyncrasies of medical school, and then on to the "real" world of being a physician and the choices which needed to be faced daily. ...more
janet
These connected short stories explore the journeys of four medical students as they face mortality and other human limitations while the wounded constantly demand they stretch these barriers. Heroic birth is the subject of my favorite story entitled "An Insistent Tide" in the collection. In it, Lam evokes the tides to enhance the metaphor of the story. Ming and Janice achieve their goal of stretching human pain and trust thresholds by sort of going with the flow. Narrative treatment of SARS emph ...more
Zara Garcia-Alvarez of The Bibliotaphe Closet Blog
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
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
...more
Lorri
Jan 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Mike
Jul 02, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: did-not-finish, ownit
Boring.
Sorry Mr. Lam, sorry Giller Prize panel. I tried hard to like this, pushing through all the way to page 150, but I realized I don't really care what happens to these two-dimensional characters, or whether a theme suddenly pops into view. The anecdotes are interesting, mainly for the inclusion of the author's behind the scenes medical knowledge but I can't really see where it's going.
Oh - and the medical glossary at the end? You feel you have to define abdomen? Or vocal cords? Please.
I ha
...more
Leya
Feb 09, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Andrea
Mar 14, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Barbara Tiede
Apr 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
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.
Lori O
Aug 23, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: medical-fiction
The author's profession is illustrated as we follow the lives of four ambitious medical students as they embark on careers as young doctors. They start out as students dealing with the pressures and stress of medical school and progress to the intense real world of psychotic patients, evacuation missions and frightening new viruses. Lam paints a realistic picture of the challenges these young doctors face and highlights their human side.
Christine
Jun 10, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Evelyn
Jul 07, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
As I am not a fan of short stories, this is the best kind of short story collection for me. Twelve stories that share characters and move along in a linear timeline.

Interesting stories for the most part, covering education, training, patient cases, struggles and career progression of 4 doctors.
Lauren Simmons
Sep 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
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ELEVEN READER'S CLUB: Bloodletting and Miraculous cures by Vincent Lam 1 8 Oct 01, 2012 07:27PM  
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