April 4, 2008
It might be jumping the gun a bit to post this interview with one of my MD/writer heroes now–seeing as it won’t come out in a dead-tree version until the Summer H&P issue. But recently school seems to taking up all my capacity for delayed gratification. So then, here’s what I did with part of my break.
When first encountering Dr. Abraham Verghese—professor of medicine and chair for the theory and practice of medicine—one is most likely to focus on his unique medical background: political strife interrupted his initial training in Ethiopia and spurred him to become first an orderly in New Jersey and then a medical student in India. After earning his degree from Madras University, Verghese returned to the U.S. to practice infectious disease in East Tennessee just as the HIV/AIDS epidemic spread into the country’s rural areas. The resulting experience inspired him to describe America’s plague years in his first book, My Own Country, which was a finalist in the 1994 National Book Critic’s Circle Awards and won wide popular acclaim. His second book, The Tennis Partner, was hailed by the Boston Globe as “indelible and haunting, an elegy to a friendship found, and an ode to a good friend lost.” His scholarly work and shorter articles have appeared in The New England Journal of Medicine, The Wall Street Journal, New Yorker, Texas Monthly, and The New York Times Magazine. His first novel, Cutting for Stone, is scheduled for publication in 2009. Read the rest of this entry »