23 July, 2021

Healing With Prose

Abraham Verghese blurs the border between fiction and seizing the terrible beauty in death

Healing With Prose

ABRAHAM Verghese cavorts with death. For doctors that is no big deal but for Verghese it is. Death pains him, death drags him to unexplored regions of the human mind (and body), death does all sorts of things to him, death drives him into a cocoon of creativity from which he has now again emerged, multi-hued wings flapping. Two books—the first My Own Country an international bestseller, and the just released second book The Tennis Partner as soul-wrenching as the first—are woven around death and have stretched the limits of the genre of medical writing. His books have blurred the border between the vexed art of fictional writing and the tortuous science of creating terrible beauty out of the grim, etherised ambience of hospitals.

"Many of us would rather not think about death. But I feel we should realise death is very real and it is not something that could happen at a faraway time. I take my children to funerals. Death is precisely what gives poignancy to our lives. Life is not a practice run," Abraham Verghese said while...

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