Louise Aronson is the author of the story collection A History of the Present Illness.
From her Q & A with Christine Sneed:
Tell us a little about your book.--Marshal Zeringue
With A History of the Present Illness I wanted to take readers into the real lives of real and often overlooked people - all of whom might be described as either patients as doctors, among many other mostly more important characteristics - in the hugely varied neighborhoods, hospitals, and nursing homes of San Francisco. Among the stories are: the elderly Chinese immigrant who must sacrifice his demented wife's well–being to his Americanized son's authority, the busy Latina physician whose eldest daughter's need for more attention has disastrous consequences, the psychiatrist who advocates for the underserved but may herself be crazy, the gay doctor who learns very different lessons about family from his life and his work, and the young veteran whose injuries become a metaphor for the rest of his life. I wanted to show the humanity of many different sorts of people, to be honest about life and medicine, to make people laugh and cry. I also wanted to explore the role of stories in medicine and offer a portrait of health and illness in American today that was different from what was already out there, and completely honest.
You write with extraordinary sympathy about so many different people - the elderly and the very young, immigrant families from all over the world, young medical students, experienced physicians. I'm guessing that as a practicing MD, you have treated people who might or might not resemble your characters. How do you immerse yourself in these different perspectives and voices?
I write about all the different sorts of people I have met as a medical student, resident and practicing doctor, though my characters are...[read on]