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Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures: Stories

About the Book

Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures: Stories

Last fall, the literary keystone of Weinstein Books’ debut list, Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures by Vincent Lam was launched to great critical acclaim and extensive media coverage. Inspired by Lam’s own experiences as a practicing emergency physician, Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures is “a balancing act [that] never stops,” (Newsweek) beautifully and skillfully chronicling the lives of four young medical students as they navigate the personal and professional pressures of life as newly minted doctors. 

Lam is a #1 Canadian bestseller and the winner of Canada’s top honor for fiction --- the 2006 Giller Prize --- selected by a jury that included distinguished author Alice Munro and presented to him by fan and early admirer Margaret Atwood. Thirty-two-year-old Lam is the youngest recipient of the Giller Prize, and Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures was the first debut short story collection in the award’s history. Additionally, Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures was a 2007 Story Prize finalist --- one of just three.

Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures balances elegant prose with dark humor, investigations of both common and extraordinary moral dilemmas, and a sometimes shockingly pragmatic portrait of today's medical profession. The book 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, evacuation missions, and terrifying new viruses. 

From the very first page, Lam brings to 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 “Contact Tracing,” the author draws from his own firsthand experience during the 2003 Toronto SARS crisis, when 375 people were infected with the respiratory virus and 44 died.

Lam has created a paean to the flawed humans behind the surgical masks --- he humanizes the profession while each character becomes a portrait of the personalities and rich internal conflicts prevalent in the field. BLOODLETTING & MIRACULOUS CURES exhibits both quiet precision and rich storytelling.

Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures: Stories
by Vincent Lam

  • Publication Date: September 16, 2008
  • Paperback: 374 pages
  • Publisher: Weinstein Books
  • ISBN-10: 1602860564
  • ISBN-13: 9781602860568