Down from Troy: A Doctor Comes of Age

Richard Selzer, Author William Morrow & Company $20 (300p) ISBN 978-0-688-09715-8
With a physician's eye and an artist's vision, Selzer ( Confessions of a Knife ) traces the arc of his life from his 1930s childhood in Troy, N.Y., through his medical training and career as a surgeon in New Haven, Conn., to his retirement in 1985. He returns again and again here to his boyhood home near Albany, where he lived with his artistic mother, a singer who expected him to become a writer, his admired older brother Billy and his father, a general practitioner, ``one of a dozen or so who presided over the physical breakdown of the Trojans exacerbated by the poverty of the Great Depression.'' The sooty, pre-electronics age of Troy, with its cobblestone streets, horse-drawn hearses, saloons and brothels, is evoked with affection and irony as Selzer highlights the house calls and hospital visits he made with his father, whose death when the boy was 12 confirmed his own calling to medicine. In prose that breathes with life (``One enters the body in surgery as in love . . .''), Selzer also details his life in medicine, describing a wrenching malpractice suit and an encounter with an AIDS patient who sought help with suicide. (July)
Reviewed on: 06/29/1992
Release date: 07/01/1992
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 319 pages - 978-0-7927-1639-6
Paperback - 978-0-316-78065-0
Hardcover - 978-0-517-11489-6
Hardcover - 319 pages - 978-0-7927-1640-2
Paperback - 300 pages - 978-0-87013-603-0
Paperback - 315 pages - 978-1-4384-3444-5
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