Feature

Also of interest...in doctors and other healers

A Constellation of Vital Phenomena; Five Days; What Doctors Feel; Learning to Listen

A Constellation of Vital Phenomena
by Danielle Ofri (Beacon, $25)
Though no tale set in war-torn Chechnya could be called a light read, this debut novel “leaves you uplifted,” said Sarah Jessica Parker in Entertainment Weekly. As a steely surgeon reluctantly opens her home to two refugees, Anthony Marra’s “absolute masterpiece” of a book assembles an “unforgettable group of characters” and delivers “remarkable pathos” plus “a surprising amount of humor.” Constellation “deserves to be on the short list for every major award.”

Five Days
by Douglas Kennedy (Atria, $16)
A story about a female radiologist who sparks with a stranger at a work conference might sound trite, said Frank O. Smith in the Portland, Maine, Press-Herald. But Douglas Kennedy’s new novel “delves exquisitely and painfully” into how it is that people wind up unintentionally limiting their horizons. “Sharply insightful” dialogue pulls readers into the two strangers’ blossoming relationship. Yes, Laura Warren’s life will be indelibly altered by a chance meeting, but “very believably so.”

What Doctors Feel
by Danielle Ofri (Beacon, $25)
Even for those who don’t practice medicine, this study of how emotions affect a doctor’s work “carries great significance,” said Dennis Rosen in The Boston Globe. Evidence shows that repeated exposure to suffering causes doctors to grow less empathetic as they gain experience. Danielle Ofri, an internist, here describes “in heartrending detail” how she and her peers have fought through such hardening, and makes a strong case that there’s more to doctoring than cognitive ability.

Learning to Listen
by T. Berry Brazelton (Da Capo, $25)
T. Berry Brazelton knows his newborns, said Laura Landro in The Wall Street Journal. The influential Harvard Medical School professor, nicknamed “the baby whisperer,” pioneered new ways of measuring the development of infants throughout his six-decade career. While he namedrops pointlessly throughout this memoir, his “general tone is one of gratitude and joy at being able to help facilitate the parent-child relationship—in large part by listening to parents’ own observations.”

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