Vital Lines: Contemporary Fiction about Medicine

Jon Mukand, Other St. Martin's Press $22.95 (436p) ISBN 978-0-312-05176-1
In his edifying introduction to this outstanding collection of 56 stories that deal with many aspects of illness and medical practice, physician Mukand convincingly argues that ``medicine is full of narratives. . . The text is a patient and the patient is a text,'' of which the doctor is the reader. Dividing the anthology into eight subject areas (The Medical Environment, Patients Look at Illness, Mental Illness, etc.), Mukand presents insightful stories by such contemporary writers as Lynne Sharon Schwartz, T. Coraghessan Boyle, Richard Stern, Gail Godwin, Joyce Carol Oates and George Garrett. Margaret Atwood's ``In Search of the Rattlesnake Plantain'' examines the shifting relationships and fears uncovered by illness, as the narrator describes the disturbing aftermath of her father's stroke. In ``How to Win,'' Rosellen Brown deals with the way an autistic, hyperactive child transforms his parents' lives, and Ellen Hunnicutt's ``Bringing the News'' explores the anguish of a rape victim. In ``Cathedral'' Raymond Carver conveys the effect of blindness on both its victim and a man meeting him for the first time. In addition to this instructive and moving anthology, Mukand edited a collection of poetry, Sutured Words. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1990
Release date: 01/01/1990
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