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Publisher's Summary

"[Terrence Holt] is Melville + Poe + Borges but with a heart far more capacious." (Junot Díaz)

Out of the crucible of medical training, award-winning writer Terrence Holt shapes this stunning account of residency, the years-long ordeal in which doctors are made. "Amid all the mess and squalor of the hospital, with its blind random unraveling of lives", Internal Medicine finds the compassion from which doctors discover the strength to care.

Holt's debut collection of short stories, In the Valley of the Kings, was praised by the New York Times Book Review as one of "those works of genius" that "will endure for as long as our hurt kind remains to require their truth". Now he returns with Internal Medicine - a work based on his own experiences as a physician, offering an insider's access to the long night of the hospital, where the intricacies of medical technology confront the mysteries of the human spirit.

"A Sign of Weakness" takes us through a grueling nightlong vigil at the bedside of a dying woman. In her "small whimpering noises, rhythmic, paced almost to the beating of my heart", a doctor confronts his own helplessness, clinging "like a child to the thought of morning". In the unforgettable "Giving Bad News," we struggle with a man who maddeningly, terrifyingly refuses to remember his terminal diagnosis, forcing us to tell him, again and again, what we never should have wanted to tell him at all.

At the bedside of a hospice patient dying in a house full of cursing parrots in "The Surgical Mask", we reach the limits of what we are able to face in human suffering, in our own horror at what happens to our bodies as they die.

In the psychiatric hospital of "Iron Maiden", a routine chest X-ray opens a window onto a nightmare vision of medieval torture and a recognition of how our mortality drives all of us to madness.

In these four stories and five others, Internal Medicine captures the doctor's struggle not only with sickness, suffering, and death but the fears and frailties each of us - patient and doctor alike - brings to the bedside. In a powerful alchemy of insight and compassion, Holt reveals how those vulnerabilities are the foundations of caring. Intensely realized, gently ironic, heartfelt and heartbreaking, Internal Medicine is an account of what it means to be a doctor, to be mortal, and to be human.

©2014 Terrence Holt (P)2015 Audible, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"[Terrence Holt] is Melville + Poe + Borges but with a heart far more capacious." (Junot Díaz)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Great book

Great overall, and maudlin at some parts (such as the part about hospice care). Most of the stories were excellent.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • SA
  • 08-19-15

excellent book, phenomenal narration

Loved it, an exquisite book complemented by an excellent theatrical narration; all turned into a work of art.

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Awful.

As a medical student I hated this book. His stories droned on with no point. It was like
he was trying to force memorable characters on us when, they were nothing more than annoying. It didn't make me excited about medicine, I wasn't interested in the outcome of his patients. It was overall a bore.

2 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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Could not get my attention

I read many different medical memoirs and residency accounts and I normally can't put the books down. This was the first one that I couldn't force myself to pick up. Stories were not particularly interesting and blah. Pretty disappointed in this one.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Disjointed, a serious lack of coherence.

What disappointed you about Internal Medicine?

Extensive time devoted to situations that could have been amply described in a page or two

What could Terrence Holt have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

Pick up the pace, treat the reader as a bit more than a simpleton that requires ad nauseam, repetitive descriptions of procedures.

How could the performance have been better?

Contract a narrator with some dynamic range.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Internal Medicine?

The hatchet would be dull there are so many.

Any additional comments?

Not even worthy of finishing on a transcontinental flight.

0 of 2 people found this review helpful