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The Tennis Partner

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  4,543 Ratings  ·  610 Reviews
In January 1994, Abraham Verghese, an indian doctor in a Texan teaching hospital, was called to the morgue to identify the body of his close friend, student and tennis partner David Smith. David had killed himself because he could not deal with his addiction to intravenously injected cocaine. This book is Verghese's tribute to his dead friend; it is also an attempt to unde ...more
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published August 20th 1998 by Chatto & Windus (first published 1998)
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Dec 05, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
The Tennis Partner describes the autobiographical story of the friendship between Verghese and one of his medical students in El Paso, Texas, in the early 1990s.

When David Smith met Dr. Verghese, he was a medical student trying to finish his degree and obtaining an internship, but before he started his studies he was a tennis player on the college tour. Verghese had always been a keen tennis player but had not had much time to play. When the two men discovered their shared interest they started
Jul 06, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Megowen by: Read and enjoyed 2 other books by this author
I have just completed a Verghese marathon. Why do I enjoy his books? As I have said before: his language is elegant, his storytelling is gifted and magical. His novel has enough descriptive setting in it that it seems to be a true memoir. His characters live, the country is in shambles. Haile Selassie lives again. The non-fiction feeling is enhanced by the inclusion of accurate maps, that actually help the reader follow the movements of the characters.
His non-fiction - I don't know where to begi
Jul 09, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book years ago -- 'after' reading "Cutting for Stone".
A Goodreads friend wrote me today asking if I would write a review of this book)...

The Tennis Partner is a non-fiction story about Abraham Verghese and his friend --(another medical doctor).

The 'best' recommendation I could give --is to NOT read other reviews...
Do NOT read the blur..
Do NOT read the back of the paperback
Do NOT try to figure out what will happen in this story...

I found going in 'blind' --TRUSTING--
Jan 09, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A deeply disturbing, often fascinating memoir, one that reads more like a novel. The author befriends an intern in a busy El Paso hospital; the two become tennis buddies and friends. Each has their individual agonies. Verghese is separated from his wife, and trying to reconcile his new life with his devotion to his two sons. But the central story is that of Verghese's friendship with David Smith, a former pro tennis player turned doctor, who is trying heroically to overcome an addiction problem ...more
Eric Klee
Sep 24, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When I picked up and read the summary of THE TENNIS PARTNER, it intrigued me. What I didn't realize at that time was that it was a work of nonfiction. Only when the main character in the book mentioned his full name -- which happened to be the same as the author -- did I realize that it was an autobiographical memoir. I typically prefer reading fiction books to nonfiction, but I continued with it nonetheless.

The story is about an Indian doctor (Dr. Abraham Verghese) whose sole focus has been on
Mar 22, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had a hard time rating this book. For readability of prose, it was a "five." I loved his writing style and storytelling ability. But I think my position as a recovering alcoholic may have colored my view of the substance of how he treated his friendship with David as well as David's relapse. I was struck by what I felt to be the author's viewpoint -- that David's relapse was somehow all about him (the author.) What he lost, what he missed, what he was disappointed about. And his willingness, m ...more
May 12, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 08, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I thought I was sick of navel-gazing confessionals from self-absorbed physicians who think that the entire world is dying to know about the ins and outs of medical life. But a former anatomy tutor of mine with a penchant for latin and greek put it in my mailbox. how could i not read it?
What I learned from this book? I learned that it is incredibly, frighteningly easy to pick up a drug habit in the medical profession. I can only hope I find a really entertaining one, like...quaaludes or somethin
Feb 15, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This story follows on from My Own Country: A Doctor's Story by the same author and tells the true story of a friendship he develops with a medical student, David. The friendship starts with a mutual love for tennis but then the two become more reliant on each other as Verghese moves out of his family home and David struggles with the pressures of his internship and some challenging relationships.

Verghese writes with an effortless style. It is so easy to read his work and it really doesn't feel l
Oct 06, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 20, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoirs, year-2011
When I saw that Abraham Verghese had written a book that had "tennis" in the title, I knew that I had to read it. I am a "club" player myself, and I enjoy reading about someone who loves the game. The book, however, really isn't about tennis, it's about the relationship that is borne from regular tennis games between the author and David Smith. The friendship that develops between Abraham and David is told with a striking vulnerability in the context of the intensity of the daily routine in a te ...more
Gary Ganong
Jul 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Jeffrey Ganong, Mike Blackledge, Tom Basehart
This is a profound book about friendship and the human soul. Verghese is a perceptive physician who has studied the human body and mind and is able to share his insights in beautiful prose. He has made many keen observations of the motivations and behavior of physicians and perhaps all professionals. "A child will always feel insufficient and powerless in a world of adults" is an example.

Adults find themselves on dark paths. They can come out by reaching to human connections.

"Keep the ball in p
Someone recommended this book to me, saying it was about Verghese and an "idiot savant" who hung around the tennis courts where Verghese played, and was a fascinating account of the relationship between the two men. She predicted I would like it because I played tennis. Were we playing a match, the score at that point would have been 2:1, my favor. She had the basic story all wrong, though the relationship was fascinating. And I don't play tennis, just am the mother of tennis players. Despite th ...more
I really like Verghese's writing, and consider the subject of his book both interesting and worthwhile. As someone who is neither a tennis player nor a spectator, I found the lengthy tennis references somewhat distracting. While others seemed to admire the way the author used the tennis sessions to parallel and enhance other aspects of the story, I couldn't fully share their appreciation of those parts. I can't deny that these sections are absolutely essential to the book, but feel they might ha ...more
Nov 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Nancy by: Kathy Loden
This painful, but stunning, memoir is special in a few ways. There aren't many memoirs that write about adult male friendships in such detail. Dr. Verghese--an internist going through a divorce--and his Australian medical student, David Smith, maintain their friendship through their weekly tennis exchanges. Verghese learns that Smith, a former professional player, has a major drug problem that's compounded by the fact that Smith is now in medical school. Verghese, inspired by Smith's friendship ...more
Lucy Montgomery
Jul 25, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My Mom bought me this book because we both loved Cutting for Stone and I am a tennis player, but The Tennis partner is so much more than the title suggests. It is an amazing book, powerful on many levels, none of which are light-hearted. Tennis does provide the backdrop and many metaphors in the story, but the book is not really about tennis (nor would the reader have to be a tennis player to appreciate it). The book is also about doctors and the practice of medicine, as well as addiction and th ...more
Sherry Howland
Jul 16, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a warm but heartbreaking, even at times harrowing, exploration of friendship. Dr Verghese has opened his life and soul to his readers in order to tell the story of his complicated friendship with David, a deeply troubled intern assigned to Verghese's internal medicine dept in an El Paso, TX hospital. Although Verghese is ostensibly the mentor and superior of the two, the balance switches as David, a former pro-circuit tennis player, becomes the teacher when they discover a shared passion ...more
Jun 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Abraham Verghese is an incredibly elegant writer. This is my second book by himself,the other was Cutting for Stone also a 5 star novel.

In this novel,which is heavily autobiographical but marketed as fiction. It centres on a teaching hospital where the teaching doctor who's marriage is on the rocks finds friendship in a recovering drug addict intern.

Verghese writes his characters with such compassion that it's equally riveting,dark & disturbing.
Sarah Witter
Feb 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This novel is for tennis players and those who have never picked up a racket. I found this novel engrossing. The author describes an interesting relationship between doctor and medical student/ a newly divorced man and a former tennis pro struggling to accept himself. Though there could have been more depth of character, the author chose to leave some details for the imagination of the reader. Tennis has little to do with the story and it has everything to do with the story.
Caroline Thompson
Mar 22, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A glimpse into the worlds of tennis, physicians and the hazards of addiction. It is a story of a friendship told with great sadness and honesty. Beautifully and precisely written.
Diane S ☔
Feb 16, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Review to follow.
Apr 25, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir, medical
Like everyone else, I read Abraham Verghese's Cutting for Stone a couple of years ago when it was the hottest thing since sliced bread. So when I saw the author had another book (two in fact) and they were memoirs, I of course wanted to read them. The Tennis Partner is his second memoir (I guess I'm reading his books in reverse.)

Abraham has just moved to El Paso, Texas, where he stands out like a sore thumb, an Indian raised in Africa. He is a doctor at the teaching hospital which he loves, he h
Stacie Nishimoto
Nov 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Eloquent and intimate. A memoir that meticulously examines characters and a friend's struggle with cocaine addiction, openly reflecting on flaws in understanding and personality with kindness and a strong sense of affinity for all. At times it felt as if I were reading my own thoughts on tennis, medicine, resilience and grace despite drastically different personal experiences. Quite eery but somehow comforting--that someone so successfully established in his career has traversed a mental landsca ...more
I've read both of Verghese's other books and loved them. This book I liked less, but the writing was still quite good, and parts of the story were absolutely riveting. I loved the story of Verghese's marriage disintegrating, his work at the hospital, and his friendship with David and David's addiction to cocaine. All those things worked very well for me. What didn't was the portions of the book which were centered on tennis, the rise and fall of some of the tennis stars Verghese had followed ove ...more
Jun 14, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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Nov 08, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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Jul 09, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Verghese is a really talented writer. His use of language is excellent as is his ability to describe what people are truly thinking on a deeper level. Tale is non-fiction and autobiographical. It is about his relationship with a younger doctor through their shared communion of tennis. It is terribly sad as David Smith, The Tennis Partner, has an addiction to drugs that cast a shadow over his whole being.

Verghese goes into so much detail about medical conditions and treatments just like he did i
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This was a worthwhile read for the insight it shares in being a friend to a troubled person and being a doctor. If I hadn't thoroughly enjoyed Dr. Verghese's novel, CUTTING FOR STONE, I might have scrapped his memoir covering a few years of his life because it isn't an exciting story nor contemplative enough to be stirring. And, though I enjoy playing and watching tennis, his re-enacting the details of games had to have been for his own amusement--well he does admit to an obsession for tennis. R ...more
Dec 29, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-club
I found this intimate portrayal of a friendship between two men interesting-- not in the euphemistic sense, but truly interesting to watch unfold. Most books and films focus on relationships that are romantic and/or sexual. But humans experience so many more feelings and relationships. Verghese shows that friendship can be intense, complicated, and life-changing too. He himself is an interesting person: a doctor with incredible factual knowledge who can also sense and "smell" people. I found it ...more
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Abraham Verghese, MD, MACP, is Professor for the Theory and Practice of Medicine at the Stanford University School of Medicine and Senior Associate Chair of the Department of Internal Medicine.

Born of Indian parents who were teachers in Ethiopia, he grew up near Addis Ababa and began his medical training there. When Emperor Haile Selassie was deposed, he completed his training at Madras Medical Co
More about Abraham Verghese...