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The House of God Paperback – September 7, 2010
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“The raunchy, troubling, and hilarious novel that turned into a cult phenomenon. Singularly compelling…brutally honest.”—The New York Times
Struggling with grueling hours and sudden life-and-death responsibilities, Basch and his colleagues, under the leadership of their rule-breaking senior resident known only as the Fat Man, must learn not only how to be fine doctors but, eventually, good human beings.
A phenomenon ever since it was published, The House of God was the first unvarnished, unglorified, and uncensored portrait of what training to become a doctor is truly like, in all its terror, exhaustion and black comedy. With more than two million copies sold worldwide, it has been hailed as one of the most important medical novels ever written.
With an introduction by John Updike
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“The raunchy, troubling, and hilarious novel that turned into a cult phenomenon. Singularly compelling...brutally honest.”—The New York Times
“Bawdy, blistering...this is Catch-22 with stethoscopes.”—Cosmopolitan
“Wonderfully wild, ribald, erotic, bitter, compassionate...in the same spirit as Catch-22.”—The Seattle Times
“A wildly funny, sad, laugh-out-loud, frightening, outrageous, thought-provoking, moving book…a story of modern medicine rarely, if ever, told.”—The Houston Chronicle
“Does for the practice of medicine what Catch-22 and M*A*S*H did for the practice of warfare.”—The Newark Star-Ledger
“Mordantly funny, brilliantly ironic...A writer of outstanding substance and style.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
From the Back Cover
- Publisher : Berkley; Reissue edition (September 7, 2010)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 432 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0425238091
- ISBN-13 : 978-0425238097
- Item Weight : 11.5 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.5 x 1.14 x 8.2 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #8,404 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from the United States
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It seems that the same causes generate the same effects: constant brushes with disease and death; excruciatingly long work hours with the day job sometimes followed by the emergency night before the next day's job; the necessity for a mental shield against burn-out from both these sources naturally causes cynicism and a form of alienation very acutely described by the author.
My younger brother once told me on a Wednesday morning he was already working overtime for the week (more than 40h of work in just over two days). He was in Paris' public hospital system, therefore without all this layer of medicine for money that also exudes from the house of God.
Doctors' suicides? This is too raw a topic for me to mention here.
By far most of the testimonies from doctors I know support the case.
How does what I know of the medical cursus in France match this testimony? As it turns out the title "House of God" is explicitly a direct translation of "L'Hôtel Dieu", the first and oldest hospital in the world, which is in Paris right next to Notre Dame.
Did I enjoy reading this book? YES, at multiple levels - it is well written, fun to read and does give a very interesting perspective on this poorly known underworld. It did jive with what I know of the milieu, but I don't think it is necessary to know anything of it to enjoy the read.
Let's just say that I read it on the recommendation by two very different doctors who don't know each other, one German and one New Englander.
Not for the faint of heart, but if you like cringing dark humor and a walk on the wild side you should enjoy House of God.
Feel free to disagree about the "Some violence" tag I clicked. I felt the reader should have some warning about the suicide.
Top reviews from other countries
The titular character is a junior doctor in a prestigious East Coast US hospital; who comes in with high ideals of patient treatment, and improving the condition of his fellow man. This illusion is soon shattered by the harsh realities of commercial healthcare, and poor ethics in hospital academic settings.
Our hero ends the book by making a move to psychiatry - where further adventures await in the sequel.