Read The Tennis Partner by Abraham Verghese Online


When Abraham Verghese, a physician whose marriage is unravelling, relocates to Texas, he hopes to make a fresh start as a staff member at a county hospital.There he meets David Smith, a medical student recovering from a drug addiction, and the two men begin a tennis ritual that allows them to shed their inhibitions and find security, in the sport they love and in each otheWhen Abraham Verghese, a physician whose marriage is unravelling, relocates to Texas, he hopes to make a fresh start as a staff member at a county hospital.There he meets David Smith, a medical student recovering from a drug addiction, and the two men begin a tennis ritual that allows them to shed their inhibitions and find security, in the sport they love and in each other. But when the dark beast that is David's addiction emerges once again, almost everything Verghese has come to trust and believe in is threatened.Compassionate and moving, The Tennis Partner is an unforgettable, illuminating story of how men live and how they survive....

Title : The Tennis Partner
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780997350
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 345 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Tennis Partner Reviews

  • BrokenTune
    2019-05-20 08:36

    The Tennis Partner describes the autobiographical story of the friendship between Verghese and one of his medical students in El Paso, Texas, in the early 1990s.When David Smith met Dr. Verghese, he was a medical student trying to finish his degree and obtaining an internship, but before he started his studies he was a tennis player on the college tour. Verghese had always been a keen tennis player but had not had much time to play. When the two men discovered their shared interest they started playing together and developed a friendship.Of course, the first thing I was drawn to was the tennis aspect of the book. However, that turned out to be the most boring part. Verghese is obsessed with keeping notes of every aspect of his game and that of any player he has ever watched. This was really boring. I love tennis, but really don't care about the commentary on someone else's game.What was interesting, tho, was the description of the differences between the two men. In particular the description of their day-to-day lives. How David is struggling to make ends meet as a med student who is subjected to long hours, long commutes, and additional issues that range from trying to keep up a long-distance relationship to being a recovering drug addict.Verghese is going through a separation at the time he meets Smith, but has an established career and a relatively stable life.The friendship between them seems unlikely but at the same time also seems to be genuine and reciprocated by both men.Of course, as the story goes on, Verghese reveals that not all was at it seemed at the start.I also enjoyed Verghese's writing about medicine and medical conditions, but sometimes he meandered into adding his own spin on issues - particularly his vast experience in treating patients with AIDS-related illnesses - that seem rather judgmental when viewed from a present-day perspective. Of course, I have no doubt many of his patients were drug users, prostitutes, and gay men, but some of the descriptions seemed rather stereotypical. There was just something a little bit grating about the narration that made the author seem a little bit arrogant, even though the end of the story clearly shows that he was a fallible as anyone else.All in all, it was an interesting book but I think I'll pass on his other book, Cutting for Stone.

  • Megowen
    2019-06-10 13:34

    I have just completed a Verghese marathon. Why do I enjoy his books? As I have said before: his language is elegant, his storytelling is gifted and magical. His novel has enough descriptive setting in it that it seems to be a true memoir. His characters live, the country is in shambles. Haile Selassie lives again. The non-fiction feeling is enhanced by the inclusion of accurate maps, that actually help the reader follow the movements of the characters.His non-fiction - I don't know where to begin. The HIV epidemic started as I started my medical career, so I feel a kinship with Verghese as he feels his way into this new sub-specialty in My Own Country. He includes enough about his family to add depth to his life, but not so much that it is a family history. Again, his descriptive ability makes his patients recognizable as real people, and the hospital and its surrounds a familiar locale. The Tennis Partner near to breaks my heart. Here, the descriptive elements once again let the reader fall right into the story. While set against the backdrop of his family situation, it is never so much that we lose the main story of the breakdown of an individual and a friendship. His medical descriptions, especially of procedures, are spot on. The details so complete that one can follow and understand exactly what the practitioner is doing.All in all, this has been a wonderful set of reading experiences, and I am waiting for the next one.

  • Elyse
    2019-06-04 10:20

    I read this book years ago -- 'after' reading "Cutting for Stone".A Goodreads friend wrote me today asking if I would write a review of this book)...MY PLEASURE!!!!!!!The Tennis Partner is a non-fiction story about Abraham Verghese and his friend --(another medical doctor).The 'best' recommendation I could give --is to NOT read other reviews...Do NOT read the blur..Do NOT read the back of the paperbackDo NOT try to figure out what will happen in this story...I found going in 'blind' --TRUSTING-- was the best way to read this story.Some books are best ...knowing next to 'nothing' before reading!What I will say:Its inspiring to read a book about a friendship between two straight male men. Male bonding is something we don't see a lot of in books --'pure friendship'....I don't want to say what the content of the story is...If you enjoyed "Cutting for Stone"....(this book is very different)...but have a 'little' interest in knowing more about the 'man' who wrote "Cutting for Stone"...This book gives you an experience of who Abraham Verghese is.I had a chance to speak privately to the author about this book --at a very packed house at a reading for "Cutting for Stone"...He said...THIS book was the MOST personal to him! I've never forgotten this story. It turned me inside out --outside in -upside down -and around!

  • Jack
    2019-05-21 14:27

    A deeply disturbing, often fascinating memoir, one that reads more like a novel. The author befriends an intern in a busy El Paso hospital; the two become tennis buddies and friends. Each has their individual agonies. Verghese is separated from his wife, and trying to reconcile his new life with his devotion to his two sons. But the central story is that of Verghese's friendship with David Smith, a former pro tennis player turned doctor, who is trying heroically to overcome an addiction problem which threatens to destroy him. There are asides and disquisitions on the nature of tennis, of male friendship, of the arrogance of the doctor, and the history of El Paso. Verghese is surprisingly modest about his own troubles - living in a near-empty apartment which he refuses to furnish, although there seems no likelihood of reconciling with his estranged wife. But the portrait of David is riveting. Australian, charming, gifted in tennis and possibly equally so in medicine, David is also determinedly self-destructive. The charming young addict smashes not one but two romantic relationships during the course of this short work, and brings himself to the point of ruin. Verghese doesn't white-wash David's downward trajectory, and his best efforts at recovery. It's occasionally harrowing, and every so often more than a bit pompous, but terrifically engaging and though-provoking.

  • Eric Klee
    2019-06-08 14:36

    When I picked up and read the summary of THE TENNIS PARTNER, it intrigued me. What I didn't realize at that time was that it was a work of nonfiction. Only when the main character in the book mentioned his full name -- which happened to be the same as the author -- did I realize that it was an autobiographical memoir. I typically prefer reading fiction books to nonfiction, but I continued with it nonetheless. The story is about an Indian doctor (Dr. Abraham Verghese) whose sole focus has been on the advancement of his career while his marriage falls apart. Eventually, he moves into his own apartment in El Paso, TX, and tries to share custody of his two children. Meanwhile, he develops an atypical friendship with an intern, first based on their mutual love of tennis. Unfortunately, the intern, David, is a recovering drug addict whose on- and off-the-wagon struggles test their friendship and professional relationship. Abraham "puts all his eggs in one basket." Other than David, he has no other friends. He relies on him for company and misses him when he's not around. When David is out with other friends or spending time with his girlfriends, Abraham is jealous that David is spending his free time with them and not him. After finishing the book, I had to wonder: Does the author realize that he's gay? It was very obvious to me that he had a major crush on this unobtainable, straight playboy of a man. Believe me, I've been there. I know all of the signs and all of the emotions. To quote Dr. Verghese himself, there's "no shame in a floppy wrist." Come out, come out! This book itself was very well written, though. Dr. Verghese has a flair for words, but often is too lengthy in his descriptions, especially the never-ending tennis match descriptions. Unless you're a huge, HUGE fan of tennis, these ad nauseum paragraphs numbed me, much like the racing ones did to me in THE ART OF RACING IN THE RAIN. After awhile, I learned to skip past these to keep my interest in the story from waning. I did, however, find the descriptions about medical procedures, symptoms, etc. fascinating. They were told in easy enough terminology and descriptions that actually made me learn a few medical-related things.THE TENNIS PARTNER is an ode to Dr. Verghese's friendship (dare I say "love"?) of David, and it was an interesting and sad account of the ups and downs of relationships.

  • Julie
    2019-05-25 09:18

    I had a hard time rating this book. For readability of prose, it was a "five." I loved his writing style and storytelling ability. But I think my position as a recovering alcoholic may have colored my view of the substance of how he treated his friendship with David as well as David's relapse. I was struck by what I felt to be the author's viewpoint -- that David's relapse was somehow all about him (the author.) What he lost, what he missed, what he was disappointed about. And his willingness, maybe even eagerness, to join "the disappointed", David's former girlfriends, to commiserate. His scoffing at David's trying to grasp his sexual addiction was disturbing. I was also a little surprised at his naivete in the area of addiction; that same old, (albeit unspoken) assumption that it's "them", the dispossessed, the poor, the underclass, who succumb to addiction, not "us." Lastly, his calling the cops on David when David was finally located, was not only disappointing, but displayed a flash of cruelty disguised as compassion and trying to help. In short, I was disappointed, but I commend his courage in being as honest as he could be about his friendship with David in his writing.

  • Gabby
    2019-06-12 09:39

    My husband started reading this after me, since we both go to the same book club, and he wondered, only a few pages in, what a bunch of Mormons (since most of us are Mormon in this book club), would have to talk about drug addiction.But this book is so much more than drug addiction. It's so much more than friendship. Frankly, one of the simplest tings I took from this book is that ... we don't necessarily know everything about the people in our lives, AND we shouldn't assume things about those people, either.*******SPOILER ALERT************While I am sure the doctor's loss was profound, in truth, he only knew his tennis partner about a year. One wonders, if he had known him earlier in life, if he would have had a different perception.I think this book was good enough at opening the doors to several aspects of people and friendships.However, I think there were times when there were too many references to tennis, when it went into technical terms that I, as a reader, frankly skimmed past. However, those went away toward the end of the book. The doctor has a good feel of words and prose, really making me feel for and understand (somewhat) some of the people in his life. And that is what nonfiction stories should do -- allow me to see and be part of a life that I might not otherwise experience.

  • Anjana
    2019-05-21 11:33

    I thought I was sick of navel-gazing confessionals from self-absorbed physicians who think that the entire world is dying to know about the ins and outs of medical life. But a former anatomy tutor of mine with a penchant for latin and greek put it in my mailbox. how could i not read it? What I learned from this book? I learned that it is incredibly, frighteningly easy to pick up a drug habit in the medical profession. I can only hope I find a really entertaining one, like...quaaludes or something.I also really really like tennis.

  • Heather
    2019-06-02 12:42

    This story follows on from My Own Country: A Doctor's Story by the same author and tells the true story of a friendship he develops with a medical student, David. The friendship starts with a mutual love for tennis but then the two become more reliant on each other as Verghese moves out of his family home and David struggles with the pressures of his internship and some challenging relationships.Verghese writes with an effortless style. It is so easy to read his work and it really doesn't feel like you are reading a non-fiction book. I love the way he weaves medical stories into the story of his relationship with David and I enjoyed seeing their friendship change. At times their reliance on each other made me feel a bit uncomfortable but this isn't a negative aspect of the book, just the way the relationship went.I have given only 4 stars because I would have preferred a bit more medicine in the book (one of the things I loved about My Own Country was the medical stories). I also wasn't particularly interested in the sections of tennis analysis although I enjoyed reading about David and Abraham's games. I would highly recommend this book. It is very fluently written and tells a fascinating, and incredibly sad, story of a young doctor's life and his mentors relationship with him

  • Mike
    2019-06-14 14:27

    I liked this book for the way it describes male friendship, which can have great depth and importance despite the absence of the kind of closeness and openness that female friendships might entail. Neither the author or his friend have any other male friends and the sense of loneliness hangs over the book like a fog. You don't get the sense that either of them know each other at all, yet both put great value in the friendship. Perversely, like most men, they avoid talking to each other of anything that matters, for the very reason that doing so might damage the friendship they desperately need.What you don't find out in this book is the nature of self-destructive drug addition, and what would make someone who "has it all" spiral into their doom. Throughout the book, the author and others attempt to save the friend, but Verghese spends no words analyzing what works and what doesn't. Since I know that Verghese would dearly want to know the answer to that, I have to conclude that the answer is unknowable with tragic consequences.When my kids were teens, I attended a funeral of a young man a little older than my son. He was about 20 when he ended his troubled life with a gun. I knew the father well, and I will never forget his short eulogy. "David, you had a good run, but you didn't quite make it, and I am so sorry." I'm not sure what this has to do with the book, but it's as close as my life has ever come, I think, to its subject.

  • Lisa
    2019-06-04 12:31

    When I saw that Abraham Verghese had written a book that had "tennis" in the title, I knew that I had to read it. I am a "club" player myself, and I enjoy reading about someone who loves the game. The book, however, really isn't about tennis, it's about the relationship that is borne from regular tennis games between the author and David Smith. The friendship that develops between Abraham and David is told with a striking vulnerability in the context of the intensity of the daily routine in a teaching hospital in Texas. Abraham is the lead doctor and David is repeating a year of his internship because of his past drug use. From the start, I knew the book was going to be a tragedy, but the description of how two men are able to forge a bond through their tennis game is a truly honest reflection on the stages of adult friendship. As Verghese masterfully details tennis strokes or patient conditions within the story, the story doesn't lose it's momentum. This was a gem of a book, and a fantastic memoir.

  • Gary Ganong
    2019-06-07 08:31

    This is a profound book about friendship and the human soul. Verghese is a perceptive physician who has studied the human body and mind and is able to share his insights in beautiful prose. He has made many keen observations of the motivations and behavior of physicians and perhaps all professionals. "A child will always feel insufficient and powerless in a world of adults" is an example. Adults find themselves on dark paths. They can come out by reaching to human connections."Keep the ball in play. Keep your eye on the ball. Follow through. These are admonitions for both tennis and life."My comments do not capture the insightful mind and pithy writing of this author.A friend described this story as very sad. That may be true but the writing is spare and clear and the author has described the meaning of friendship with extraordinary feeling.

  • Amy
    2019-06-08 08:19

    Someone recommended this book to me, saying it was about Verghese and an "idiot savant" who hung around the tennis courts where Verghese played, and was a fascinating account of the relationship between the two men. She predicted I would like it because I played tennis. Were we playing a match, the score at that point would have been 2:1, my favor. She had the basic story all wrong, though the relationship was fascinating. And I don't play tennis, just am the mother of tennis players. Despite the slightly-off recommendation, I did pick up the book, mostly because I thought Cutting for Stone one of the best novels I've read, which interested me enough to read more by and about the author.Verghese tells of his life in El Paso in the early 90's, where he has taken on a position in Internal Medicine at a teaching hospital. There he meets David, a fourth year med student. It turns out David actually spent time on the pro-tennis circuit before retiring to go to medical school. The two begin to hit together, and as they do, their lives open up to each other. Verghese's marriage is crumbling, though his love for his two young sons is strong and bright. David is a recovering IV drug addict, who, in fact, had to repeat a year of medical school because his addiction caused him to crash and burn last time through. He returned to the hospital to do so after completing rehab.I knew from the start that this book would be a tough one to read. Verghese's powerful descriptions in Cutting for Stone let me know that he would write as eloquently a when depicting the tale of his friend. And I suspected it would end badly for David, even before reading the book. The back cover gives David's name, and so does the dedication -- except the dedication name is followed by birth and death years. What I wasn't prepared for was how impressed I would be with Verghese's clinical skills, his constant assessment of patients and people he sees, the use of touch, smell and sight. When he described how he approached a patient's bedside, or how he let his physical assessment be a part of his world observations, I rejoiced. This was how the physician I was closest to, the one who actually got me into nursing, used to practice healing arts. How did we get so far away from using our own senses, observations, and instincts, moving to machinery instead.The other thing that stood out for me was the author's love for his boys. Beautiful. The nice to know bits included Verghese's background in tennis, and the descriptions of matches he played or observed, the things he learned from other players, pro or friend. I also liked the info on El Paso, a place I probably never will visit in person, but that I know a little better from this book. It's a powerful novel of friendship, haunting, terrifying, and I'm betting, unforgettable.

  • Donna
    2019-06-11 09:23

    I really like Verghese's writing, and consider the subject of his book both interesting and worthwhile. As someone who is neither a tennis player nor a spectator, I found the lengthy tennis references somewhat distracting. While others seemed to admire the way the author used the tennis sessions to parallel and enhance other aspects of the story, I couldn't fully share their appreciation of those parts. I can't deny that these sections are absolutely essential to the book, but feel they might have benefitted from some editing. I found myself skimming through the more technical and historical tennis references to get to what I considered the "meat" of the narrative. The very intimate friendship between two men who inhabit such different worlds was beautifully portrayed. The flip-flop of their roles as mentor and teacher in the hospital setting and then on the tennis court made for a complex and thought-provoking narrative. How sad and scary that substance abuse is so prevalent among those in medical professions, and what an insightful commentary on the different challenges posed in the treatment of mental health issues, both in the context of the unfair stigma associated with them, and the very real risk of allowing a mentally unstable person such as David to take on the role of doctor. The question of a friend's responsibility and role in recovery is a central theme, and perhaps a question that continues to haunt the author.Excellent selection for a book club discussion!

  • Nancy
    2019-05-24 12:20

    This painful, but stunning, memoir is special in a few ways. There aren't many memoirs that write about adult male friendships in such detail. Dr. Verghese--an internist going through a divorce--and his Australian medical student, David Smith, maintain their friendship through their weekly tennis exchanges. Verghese learns that Smith, a former professional player, has a major drug problem that's compounded by the fact that Smith is now in medical school. Verghese, inspired by Smith's friendship but later crushed by his betrayals, is put through an emotional wringer. Verghese anchors his memoir with what he knows best-- medical writing. I found myself surprised that I was looking forward to breaks in his personal life for his professional life, which in most cases Verghese parallels well. And this is the first book I've read--although perhaps others exist--that writes so personally and painstakingly about the game... the way only a well-educated amateur player could. For Verghese, tennis has ritual elements that border on religious for him. An (un)successful day hitting tennis balls with Smith often reflects the other elements in Verghese's life.Thanks, Kathy, for suggesting it!

  • Lucy Montgomery
    2019-06-01 14:22

    My Mom bought me this book because we both loved Cutting for Stone and I am a tennis player, but The Tennis partner is so much more than the title suggests. It is an amazing book, powerful on many levels, none of which are light-hearted. Tennis does provide the backdrop and many metaphors in the story, but the book is not really about tennis (nor would the reader have to be a tennis player to appreciate it). The book is also about doctors and the practice of medicine, as well as addiction and the life of an addict. Most of all, the book is about relationships, including the central one, a male friendship -- built over tennis and medicine, but ultimately about much more. I will definitely recommend The Tennis Partner to my tennis-playing friends but am passing it on to my husband, who is definitely not a tennis player, first because I also think he will like reading it.

  • Sherry Howland
    2019-05-21 12:28

    This is a warm but heartbreaking, even at times harrowing, exploration of friendship. Dr Verghese has opened his life and soul to his readers in order to tell the story of his complicated friendship with David, a deeply troubled intern assigned to Verghese's internal medicine dept in an El Paso, TX hospital. Although Verghese is ostensibly the mentor and superior of the two, the balance switches as David, a former pro-circuit tennis player, becomes the teacher when they discover a shared passion for the game. If anyone has ever known and loved someone with self-destructive and/or addictive personality disorders, this book will be horribly familiar to you. But Verghese somehow manages to infuse it with love and even a glimmer of hope. Maybe not hope for all of us, but it's an important reminder to love strong and love well while you can.

  • Katherine
    2019-05-24 06:42

    Abraham Verghese is an incredibly elegant writer. This is my second book by himself,the other was Cutting for Stone also a 5 star novel. In this novel,which is heavily autobiographical but marketed as fiction. It centres on a teaching hospital where the teaching doctor who's marriage is on the rocks finds friendship in a recovering drug addict intern.Verghese writes his characters with such compassion that it's equally riveting,dark & disturbing.

  • Sarah Witter
    2019-05-18 07:29

    This novel is for tennis players and those who have never picked up a racket. I found this novel engrossing. The author describes an interesting relationship between doctor and medical student/ a newly divorced man and a former tennis pro struggling to accept himself. Though there could have been more depth of character, the author chose to leave some details for the imagination of the reader. Tennis has little to do with the story and it has everything to do with the story.

  • Caroline Thompson
    2019-05-20 13:34

    A glimpse into the worlds of tennis, physicians and the hazards of addiction. It is a story of a friendship told with great sadness and honesty. Beautifully and precisely written.

  • Diane S ☔
    2019-05-31 07:44

    Review to follow.

  • Carin
    2019-06-09 12:37

    Like everyone else, I read Abraham Verghese's Cutting for Stone a couple of years ago when it was the hottest thing since sliced bread. So when I saw the author had another book (two in fact) and they were memoirs, I of course wanted to read them. The Tennis Partner is his second memoir (I guess I'm reading his books in reverse.)Abraham has just moved to El Paso, Texas, where he stands out like a sore thumb, an Indian raised in Africa. He is a doctor at the teaching hospital which he loves, he has two little boys that he adores, and his wife wants a divorce. He is new to town, has few friends, feels unmoored, and is grateful when he meets David, an older medical student (therefore nearly Abraham's age) who he can play tennis with. David had briefly been a professional tennis player, a fact which awes Abe, as that was his childhood dream. But soon his bubble is burst when he discovers why David is a few years behind his peers: he has just returned from a forced hiatus from school, during which time he went to an extended in-patient rehab program and then completed one year of sober living, due to his cocaine addiction.When Abe learns this he is concerned and worried for his friend, but David seems on the right track. He is complying with all the requirements for his return, mostly cheerfully, he seems accepting of his situation, understanding of his addiction, and dedicated to medicine. His friendship is a crucial bit of normalcy in Abe's life, which has become quite discombobulated. Abe helps David get on a research project, and eventually pulls some strings to get David a residency in his department. But David is not doing as well as Abe had thought. And things start to go downhill, quickly.It was fascinating to read an addiction memoir that isn't from the addict's point of view (Let's Take the Long Way Home doesn't count because even though it is written by the friend of Caroline, the author herself is also an addict, plus Caroline stopped drinking before the book began.) Abe doesn't know any more about addiction that I do, and he's a doctor. He is alternately hopeful and scared, angry and hurt, wanting to help but afraid of being an enabler. Addiction isn't any easier on Abe or David, just because they're in the medical field.In fact, addicts in medicine are a particularly tough bunch to treat. They have incredible access to drugs (most doctor addicts are anesthesiologists), are unwilling to admit anything is wrong, and need to keep their patients' trust. It's an important topic rarely discussed, although it is briefly touched on in Atul Gawane's Complications.But I digress. In The Tennis Partner, initially it is David who is helping Abe to settle in, have a friend, feel normal despite the chaos of divorce. At the end it is David who desperately needs help from Abe. I'll admit I got choked up at the end. Things do go very wrong, but not exactly in the way I expected. Dr. Verghese is very good at explaining medical terms for lay people, and even better at explaining his passion for people, and his fascination with puzzling out tricky diagnoses. The tennis terminology is more likely to throw off lay people, and the tennis names are very dated (the book was published in 1999 but takes place in the early 90s, and he often talks of tennis greats from his childhood, in the 70s.) But you really don't need to understand that in order to fully appreciate the book. It is a tragic story, and a powerful one. Even doctors don't have the answers when it comes to addiction.

  • Stacie Nishimoto
    2019-05-23 10:24

    Eloquent and intimate. A memoir that meticulously examines characters and a friend's struggle with cocaine addiction, openly reflecting on flaws in understanding and personality with kindness and a strong sense of affinity for all. At times it felt as if I were reading my own thoughts on tennis, medicine, resilience and grace despite drastically different personal experiences. Quite eery but somehow comforting--that someone so successfully established in his career has traversed a mental landscape of similar arguments and assumptions. "Chasing success--first in tennis and then in medicine--was another way he sought to cure his pain, his dysphoria. Like so many of us, perhaps he was drawn to doctoring because he subconsciously thought that if he attended to the pain of others, it would take care of his own.""I cannot help but believe that David's aloneness, his addiction, was worse for being in the medical profession--and not just because of ease of access, or stress, or long hours, but because of the way our profession fosters loneliness.Despite all our grand societies, memberships, fellowships, specialty colleges, each with its annual dues and certificates and ceremonials, we are horribly alone. The doctor's world is one where our own feelings--particularly those of pain, and hurt--are not easily expressed, even though patients are encouraged to express them. We must trust our colleagues, we show propriety and reciprocity, we have the scientific knowledge, we learn empathy, but we rarely expose our own emotions.There is a silent but terrible collusion to cover up pain, to cover up depression; there is a fear of blushing, a machismo that destroys us. The Citadel quality to medical training, where only the fittest survive, creates the paradox of the humane, empathetic physician, like David, who shows little humanity to himself.""I recall that moment when we turned off the lights at our secret court, throwing it into pitch darkness, groping our way like blind men to the bench. Then, as our pupils adjusted to the night, and as we looked heavenward, it was as if one by one, then by the tens and hundreds, the stars appeared, a private showing for just the two of us. It was an illusion of course; they had been there all along. That panoply of stars dwarfed us, rendered us insignificant, made the ritual of the yellow ball and its flight seem absurd.But soon, another thought followed, the converse of the first: that at this moment, nothing was as important as the two of us keeping that ball in play. The universe and our very lives depended on this one thing: Get the ball over the net just one more time."From Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine: on becoming a physician"...technical skill, scientific knowledge, and human understanding. He who uses these with courage, with humility, and with wisdom will provide a unique service for his fellow man and will build an enduring edifice of character within himself. The physician should ask of his destiny no more than this, he should be content with no less."Thank you, Dr. Verghese and David.

  • Maggie
    2019-06-08 06:37

    I've read both of Verghese's other books and loved them. This book I liked less, but the writing was still quite good, and parts of the story were absolutely riveting. I loved the story of Verghese's marriage disintegrating, his work at the hospital, and his friendship with David and David's addiction to cocaine. All those things worked very well for me. What didn't was the portions of the book which were centered on tennis, the rise and fall of some of the tennis stars Verghese had followed over the years, his near addiction to tennis, etc. Frankly, I'm not a sports fan, least of all tennis, and although it was initially interesting, it quickly became boring, and then was like Chinese water torture. If you're not a tennis fan I'd suggest you either agree that this is going to be an educational trip for you into a sport you know too little about or that you skip those sections of the book. If, like me, those sections of the book didn't work for you, please do not give up on his other books. My Own Country, a non-fiction memoir of his early years working in Tennessee at the beginning of AIDS scare is excellent, as is his fiction work Cutting for Stone which is set in Ethiopia, where Verghese himself was born.

  • Tim
    2019-05-28 14:24

    This was the third book I've recently read from the author. In comparison, it was not nearly as focused or important as the first two I read. The author describes his love of tennis in excruciating detail (admittedly I'm not a tennis player), coupled with a loose story of practicing medicine in El Paso Texas.By now, I expected I'd read detailed descriptions of diagnosis and treatment of many illnesses - interesting no doubt. But this book was more about a friend of his, a young doctor caught in his own addiction to drugs, and sex. Eventually, the individual, the author's tennis partner, loses his profession, relationships, hope and his life. What was most striking about the book was a glimpse into how the medical profession deals with quite a lot of addiction within its ranks. There is a whole rehabilitation center (probably more than one), the purpose of which is to salvage the individuals skills and abilities through enlightened treatment and accountability. Does this amount of attention contrast at all the lack of the same when dealing with folks without means?If I had picked up this book first, I'd probably not have pursued the author's other writings.

  • Kelsey
    2019-06-07 07:40

    "It's a terrifying experience. It's important that you realize that every illness, whether it's a broken bone, or a bad pneumonia, comes with a spiritual violation that parallels the physical ailment. A doctor has to be more than just a dispenser of cures, but also, to use an old term, a minister of healing."When they were young college students, they had worked incredibly hard to get into medical school, forgoing the parties, the quick pleasures, in pursuit of the doctor dream. When they were accepted into medical school, and then later, when they graduated and survived the ordeal of internship, they had come to feel special. They had learned to be self-sufficeint, and even to think of themselves as invulnerable, as if they had struck a bargain with the Creator in return for caring for the ill. The very qualities that led them to be doctors-compulsiveness, conscientiousness, control over emotions, delayed gratification, fantasies of the future-predisposed them to use drugs. When they did, to the very end, the physician-patient denied his or her patient hood. And when it al came crashing down, what they felt was monstrous, crippling shame.

  • Sandy
    2019-06-06 07:19

    Verghese is a really talented writer. His use of language is excellent as is his ability to describe what people are truly thinking on a deeper level. Tale is non-fiction and autobiographical. It is about his relationship with a younger doctor through their shared communion of tennis. It is terribly sad as David Smith, The Tennis Partner, has an addiction to drugs that cast a shadow over his whole being. Verghese goes into so much detail about medical conditions and treatments just like he did in Cutting For Stone. If that is a turnoff then the book won't work for you. I'm not sure why I kind of enjoy that portion since I certainly don't have any real interest in that direction. (sign of good writing perhaps) The reason I enjoyed the book is that I am a tennis player and it has been a huge part of my life. I loved his discussions of strategy, strokes, different players, most of whom I know, and various matches which are all hidden away in my memory banks. Bjorn Borg is my favorite of all and I found the portions devoted to him particularly interesting.

  • Judy
    2019-05-16 06:29

    This is a beautifully written true story of a rare friendship between two men. One, a brilliant doctor of Internal Medicine (Verghese) with a failing marriage, and the other, a young intern (David) with a long history of drug problems. They meet and bond over their mutual love of tennis. Through the many games and practice drills, you can see the progression of the emotional changes for each of them - changing living circumstances, work demands, relationships, and David's battle with his addiction. Verghese is my favorite kind of writer - he provides an intense amount of detail, and yet not a moment of it is boring to me. I didn't mind any of the detailed descriptions of tennis play or famous tennis matches. To me it was just a view into the brain and life of Verghese. I would read anything he would write. The story, of course, is ultimately very sad. Friendships of that nature are so rare, and to lose one is tragic. Verghese's story is a beautiful tribute to his friend.

  • Sunset
    2019-05-19 11:43

    This was a worthwhile read for the insight it shares in being a friend to a troubled person and being a doctor. If I hadn't thoroughly enjoyed Dr. Verghese's novel, CUTTING FOR STONE, I might have scrapped his memoir covering a few years of his life because it isn't an exciting story nor contemplative enough to be stirring. And, though I enjoy playing and watching tennis, his re-enacting the details of games had to have been for his own amusement--well he does admit to an obsession for tennis. Regardless of skimming through those parts, I appreciated his writing. His narrative of being a newly hired doctor in El Paso, Texas, father of two young boys with his marriage in disarray is engaging. The descriptions of the the El Paso environment color the background of those years beautifully.

  • Marie
    2019-06-16 12:20

    I found this intimate portrayal of a friendship between two men interesting-- not in the euphemistic sense, but truly interesting to watch unfold. Most books and films focus on relationships that are romantic and/or sexual. But humans experience so many more feelings and relationships. Verghese shows that friendship can be intense, complicated, and life-changing too. He himself is an interesting person: a doctor with incredible factual knowledge who can also sense and "smell" people. I found it touching how much of himself he exposed in order to pay tribute to someone he loved. The one downside for me were the lengthy passages about tennis which went completely over my head.