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Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures    by Vincent Lam order for
Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures
by Vincent Lam
Order:  USA  Can
Anchor, 2006 (2006)
* * *   Reviewed by Michael Graves

Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures is a collection of inter-related narratives connected by interesting characters that flow between the stories. All this is done against a medical backdrop. As such, it takes the reader to a familiar territory but to a depth seldom ventured. Terms like VSA (vital signs absent) and PEA (pulseless electrical activity) abound - but that shouldn't discourage anyone, as the stories are definitely layman's tales and page-turners at that.

The stories are initiated with graduate students trying to enter medical school, and end with the challenges of evening hospital emergency scenarios. One story provides incredible insight into the SARS crisis in a way never revealed in the local news. The interaction of the characters is a strong point in the stories as they forge new relationships in an environment where studies and shift work often interfere. Character development is reasonable given the constraints of a short story episodic approach.

This is a literary debut for author Vincent Lam, who has enjoyed significant acclaim as the winner of the prestigious Giller Prize for 2006. He has recently co-authored a work of non-fiction but one hopes that a new novel isn't too far down the road.

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