• Historical Fiction
  • General Fiction and Women Writers
  • YA Fiction
  • Suspense and Thrillers
  • Memoirs and Non Fiction
  • Classics and Mashups

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

"A History of the Present Illness" by Lousie Aronson~ Stories


A History of the Present Illness takes readers into overlooked lives in the neighborhoods, hospitals, and nursing homes of San Francisco, offering a deeply humane and incisive portrait of health and illness in American today. An elderly Chinese immigrant sacrifices his demented wife's well-being to his son's authority. A busy Latina physician's eldest daughter's need for more attention has disastrous consequences. A young veteran's injuries become a metaphor for the rest of his life. A gay doctor learns very different lessons about family from his life and his work, and a psychiatrist who advocates for the underserved may herself be crazy. Together, these honest and compassionate stories introduce a striking new literary voice and provide a view of what it means to be a doctor and a patient unlike anything we've read before.
In the tradition of Oliver Sacks and Abraham Verghese, Aronson's writing is based on personal experience and addresses topics of current social relevance. Masterfully told, A History of the Present Illness explores the role of stories in medicine and creates a world pulsating with life, speaking truths about what makes us human.

Published by:  Bloomsbury
Pages:  272
Genre:  Fiction/Short Stories
Purchase the book by pre-order here:  Barnes and Noble  or Amazon


Louise Aronson has an MFA from Warren Wilson College and an MD from Harvard. She has received the Sonora Review prize, the New Millennium short fiction award, and three Pushcart nominations. Her fiction has appeared in Bellevue Literary Review and the Literary Review, among other publications. She is an associate professor of medicine at UCSF, where she cares for older patients and directs the Northern California Geriatrics Education Center and UCSF Medical Humanities. She lives in San Francisco.


Louise Aronson's stories are sharp and brilliantly cut like a laser to the heart of the matter.  And that matter is often how present care givers, families and patients feel about their options to live and/or receive medical care or not in this complicated and uncertain world.

These powerfully written vignettes bring to light the perspectives of human beings caught up in medical situations of the seemingly ordinary, the complex, the traumatic and the long-term.  I felt I was seeing some truths about physicians for the first time.  And, I felt the complexities that families
often face in determining care issues for their elderly and "feeble" (for lack of a better word) family members well stated and carved out here.

All in all an outstanding book of short stories with a wealth of humanity, knowledge and warning.

Highly recommended as well for its ease of reading and its ability to mesmerize.  I frankly loved this book's ability to make me care about the doctors and the patients on a visceral level.  Further, I loved the mix of cultural differences in handling the illnesses and aftermaths.

5 stars           Deborah/TheBookishDame



This looks like a great read with wonderful insight. Thank you for the review. You also show compassion for the subject.


Interesting subject. And definitely one overlooked in modern society... amazing how illness can so deeply affect so many lives besides the afflicted.


Hi there, the December edition of Books You Loved has just gone live today. Here is the link Books You Loved December Edition Please do pop by and link in a post about a book you loved. Maybe this one? Cheers

Share your thoughts!

Blogaholic Designs”=