Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
+ Free Shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
A History of the Present Illness: Stories Hardcover – January 22, 2013
This month's Book With Buzz: "Little Fires Everywhere" by Celeste Ng
From the bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You, a riveting novel that traces the intertwined fates of the picture - perfect Richardson family and the enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives. See more
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
San Francisco is the setting of this collection of 16 short stories by physician-author Aronson. The patients, families, and doctors populating these tales are clobbered by random events that alter their lives. Missed opportunities and poor decisions also get plenty of play. In one story, a physician is charged with killing a patient. In another, an angry, bratty teenage daughter runs away from home. We never learn her fate or what happens to the worrying parents. A purposeful dearth of denouement occurs in other provocation tales. The gem of the collection, “Lucky You,” recounts what happens when an 11-year-old boy tumbles down a cliff. A dog walker happens to be at the scene of the accident but is hesitant to intervene even though she has medical training. Aronson effectively illustrates just how jumbled life can be. Hope is limping barely one step ahead of sadness. Human devotion and division, responsibility to self and others are only a smidgen of the subject matter examined by talented and knowledgeable Aronson. --Tony Miksanek
“Dr. Aronson writes lovely, nuanced description.” ―New York Times
“A History of the Present Illness provides an intimate look into how the aging process affects real lives and a non-didactic take on the importance of health care.” ―San Francisco Chronicle
“The ethical dilemmas that abound in medicine are prominent but never swamp the stories: these are tales about people, as insightfulas Lorrie Moore or Alice Munro.” ―The Independent (UK)
“Aronson's examination of medical culture in stories, of the brutality and tenderness at home and hospital, is a gem. [Her] voice is tender and one from which I hope we'll hear more histories in the future.” ―Washington Independent Review of Books
“Aronson effectively illustrates just how jumbled life can be. Hope is limping barely one step ahead of sadness. Human devotion and division, responsibility to self and others are only a smidgen of the subject matter examined by talented and knowledgeable Aronson.” ―Booklist
“In A History of the Present Illness Louise Aronson invites us to bear witness as people--with very little fanfare, but with a profound sense of truth--to come to terms with what it really means to be a flawed, sick human being in a flawed, sick world. These stories are about medicine exactly in the way that medicine is about life: here hospitals contain whole worlds, physicians contain their patients, and the emotional and physical gestures of the urge to heal contain the whole fruitful and fruitless work of human connection.” ―Chris Adrian
“A History of the Present Illness is a collection of stories about doctors and their patients, and about the chronic and presenting situations that bring them to crisis. Eudora Welty described the work of another physician/story writer by saying that 'Chekhov's candor was exploratory and painstaking--he might have used it as the doctor in him would know how, treating the need for truth between human beings as an emergency,' words that seem to me to also apply here. Aronson's quest, too, is for that truth.” ―Antonya Nelson
“Some of the most startling and memorable stories I've ever read. A History of the Present Illness is a fascinating study of our fragile human condition, both physical and emotional. Here is a writer--and a doctor--whose empathy for her people, her characters, springs forth on every page.” ―Peter Orner
“In A History of the Present Illness, Louise Aronson reveals her remarkable range of voice, from bedwetting Cambodian girl to elderly Jewish man; from paralyzed Bad Boy to pampered ex-surgeon who drinks to forget her depression. If you've ever wondered what goes on behind the closed doors of the sick and the wounded--not on television or in movies but really--then this is the book for you. Compassionate and even anguished, though quietly, Dr. Aronson paints a dark, Rembrandtian portrait, where the faces are solemn, and the clothes and circumstances precisely fit to man, woman, and child. Fiction it may be, but it has the palette and the ring of truth.” ―Victoria Sweet, author of God's Hotel
Top customer reviews
This book isn't exactly light reading. There's a lot of grim and sad material in here. I found tears in my eyes more than once, and finished the book with a heavy heart. It really reinforces how our health care system is failing for so many people - immigrants, children, veterans, the elderly, and also the doctors. So don't buy this expecting some kind of TV version of a medical soap opera; this book is gritty, real, and uncompromising.
Aronson astonishes in her ability to inhabit such a wide array of characters with such compassionate authenticity -- the elderly Chinese man who doesn't speak English and visits his demented wife daily; the recently returned Iraq war veteran; the mentally-disturbed psychiatrist; the child deeply traumatized by his mother's death -- all of these people and many more come alive in deftly-constructed prose. Sometimes Aronson's carefully-constructed prose is a bit too noticeable, as she experiments with a wide range of styles and voices throughout the book, but sometimes her prose is simply delicious, to the point that a single paragraph bears reading and re-reading. As with many story collections, I had my favorites, and others that I didn't like as much, and I'm guessing that these faves will differ for different readers.
Overall, I give this book a full five stars, mostly because I know enough about the field of medicine to know that the author has completely nailed it in this collection - she has written a book of such authenticity that it doesn't matter if it's fiction or non-fiction - it's simply the truth.
Aronson's style is simple and direct. It is powerful in an understated and unsentimental way. She also likes to play with form - one story is told via the description of a series of snapshots, for example, another in the form of list of things a character knows about her mother-in-law. These innovative forms are both refreshing as well as insightful and clearly not done just for the sake of experimentation.
Louise Aronson is as good as Williams, Lahiri and Munro too. I bet many of these stories end up as staples in the best anthologies.
all the stories have a ring of (sometimes improbable)truth about them, and are beautifully written. Worth a read whether or not
you are a doc