Metro Recommends: Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures
Dr. Vincent Lam’s Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures is the winner of the 2006 Giller Prize. The connected short stories follow the intersecting lives of four doctors, from pre-med to their careers as physicians. The stories are narrated from various perspectives, including the doctors as well as the supporting characters: a psychiatric patient becoming increasingly paranoid; a women undergoing an emergency c-section; a nurse during the SARS crisis.
Unaffected and honest, the collection is an arresting glimpse into the world of medicine. The stories are unflinching—Lam doesn’t shrink away from the dark side of the medical profession. His characters are fallible, human, and real.
32-year old Lam is a Toronto emergency room physician. He was a ship doctor on an Arctic cruise where he met Margaret Atwood who became his mentor. Atwood introduced the book at the Giller ceremony and told the audience, "doctors and fiction-writers both deal in extreme events, both have their fingers on the pulse of life and death, and neither is squeamish about gore on the floor." Squeamish, Lam is not.
The $40,000 Giller prize is Canada’s most prestigious literary award. Last year's winner was Winnipeg novelist David Bergen for The Time in Between, the story of a haunted man who returns to Vietnam where he fought in the war 28 years earlier (read my review here. Alice Munro, who sat on this year’s jury, won the award in 2004 for Runaway.
Vincent Lam is married and the father of a two-year old son. He lives in Toronto and is working on his first novel, due out in 2007.
He’s inspired me—if a doctor and father of a toddler can find the time to write a book, maybe I can too.
Don’t you love a success story like this!
Thanks to everyone who voted for me in CBAs. Your votes made me feel good. Congrats to the winner, Kristin of Debaucherous and Dishevelled.