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The Philosophy And Fiction Of Dr. Verghese

The author is an empathetic physician. His new novel shows he is also
a fine writer.

“So much about writing just happens,” says Dr. Verghese. “It’s possible to follow a certain voice for six months, only to find lots of dead ends.”

“So much about writing just happens,” says Dr. Verghese. “It’s possible to follow a certain voice for six months, only to find lots of dead ends.”

“Often people want to put two hats on me; one of a writer and one of a physician,” Dr. Abraham Verghese tells his audience at a recent meeting of the Indian River Literary Society. “But I will tell you honestly that I don’t see myself that way at all. I see myself completely as a physician. For me, all the writing comes out of the great privilege of being a physician.”

Verghese is an exceptional physician. He brings to his “calling” a passion for the profession, empathy for his patients, and a crusade to bring the art of medicine back in line with the science of medicine. A lover of fiction since a young boy, he credits reading Of Human Bondage by Somerset Maugham with inspiring him to study medicine. And he credits his work with AIDS patients in rural Tennessee in the late 1980s with inspiring him to become a writer.

When he needed a respite from caring for AIDS patients and their families, he cashed in his 401K and took his wife and two young sons to Iowa, where he was accepted at the prestigious University of Iowa Writer’s Workshop. He completed the two-year program in a year and a half – while moonlighting at an AIDS clinic – and returned to the practice of medicine with a Master of Fine Arts degree. The infectious disease specialist continued to hone his writing skills, and the result is his new novel, Cutting for Stone.

Read the entire article in the May 2011 issue