Body of Work: Meditations on Mortality from the Human Anatomy Lab

Body of Work: Meditations on Mortality from the Human Anatomy Lab

4.3 8
by Christine Montross
     
 

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A "gleaming, humane" (The New York Times Book Review) memoir of the relationship between a cadaver named Eve and a first-year medical student

Medical student Christine Montross felt nervous standing outside the anatomy lab on her first day of class. Entering a room with stainless-steel tables topped by corpses in body bags was initially unnerving.…  See more details below

Overview

A "gleaming, humane" (The New York Times Book Review) memoir of the relationship between a cadaver named Eve and a first-year medical student

Medical student Christine Montross felt nervous standing outside the anatomy lab on her first day of class. Entering a room with stainless-steel tables topped by corpses in body bags was initially unnerving. But once Montross met her cadaver, she found herself intrigued by the person the woman once was and fascinated by the strange, unsettling beauty of the human form. They called her Eve. The story of Montross and Eve is a tender and surprising examination of the mysteries of the human body, and a remarkable look at our relationship with both the living and the dead.

Editorial Reviews

Christine Montross's encounter with her cadaver "friend" Eve began on what should have been an eerie note. Entering the anatomy lab on her first day of class, nervous newbie Christine spotted her first study corpse prone on a cold stainless steel table. Instead of being repulsed, Montross found herself utterly intrigued and also deeply moved by Eve's ultimate sacrifice of her own body to science. In Body of Work, she recounts with sensitivity and reverence how her relationship with her subject transformed elementary anatomy lessons into an indelible human experience. An unforgettable meditation on mortality.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781101202333
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
06/21/2007
Sold by:
Penguin Group
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
320
Sales rank:
487,456
File size:
1 MB
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are saying about this

Thomas Lynch
The table and the blade, blood and bodies, dissection and discernment -- such are the properties of the medical arts. From her hands-in, hands-on study of parts, whole persons emerge in Dr. Montross's wonderfully curious text. Here are ample doses of metaphor and good medicine. (Thomas Lynch, author of Booking Passage, The Undertaking and Bodies in Motion and at Rest)
Edward Hoagland
This is a book about crossing the bar. The anatomies discussed here are diverse and gripping, and remind me of the essays of Richard Selzer, which is a high compliment indeed. (Edward Hoagland, author of Compass Points)
Jerome Groopman
This is a new voice in medical writing: lyrical, insightful, introspective. Montross, by probing deeply into the hidden recesses of the body, brilliantly illuminates the soul. A welcome debut. (Jerome Groopman, MD, Recanati Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, author of How Doctors Think)
Katrina Firlik
How lucky we are that a poet decided to become a physician. Although all physicians share a personal history of countless hours in the human anatomy lab, only a rare few, I suspect, would be able to so deftly illuminate this transforming and peculiar experience. Montross is a master of detail, so much so that I was shocked to find myself hovering over my own cadaver in medical school again, holding a scalpel as if for the first time. (Katrina Firlik, MD, Neurosurgeon and author of Another Day in the Frontal Lobe)
Richard Selzer
The physician, like the sculptor, approaches the human body with reverence and admiration. Carried a little further, it becomes worship. In Body of Work, an unflinching memoirist conveys the process, both emotional and intellectual, by which human anatomy is mastered by the doctor-to-be. It should be read by anyone with aspirations for a life in medicine. (Richard Selzer, author of Mortal Lessons, The Doctor Stories and Letters to a Young Doctor)
From the Publisher
"[Raudman's] tone, like Montross's writing, is often irreverent and dryly funny, without ever being disrespectful." —-AudioFile

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Meet the Author

Christine Montross is an assistant professor of psychiatry and human behavior and the codirector of the Medical Humanities and Bioethis Scholary Concentration at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. She is also a practicing inpatient psychiatrist. She and her partner, the playwright Deborah Salem Smith, live in Rhode Island with their two young children. Her most recent book is Falling Into the Fire: A Pscyhiatrist's Encounters With the Mind in Crisis.

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Body of Work: Meditations on Mortality from the Human Anatomy Lab 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm going to start with a disclaimer. This book is certainly not for everyone, as the subtitle is "Meditations on Mortality from the Human Anatomy Lab". If you get squeamish easily, then scroll up or down for another review. If one of your favorite television shows is "Dr. G., Medical Examiner", then keep reading. This work of nonfiction grabs you from the very beginning. Christine Montross (now Dr.) is entering her first year as a med student. She knows that her first class will be Gross Anatomy, and that she will be responsible for dissecting a cadaver throughout the term. She knows nothing about the person she is dissecting.... hopes, dreams, memories, cause of death, family, etc. All she knows is that it is female with no belly button. Therefore, she and her lab partners decide to name her "Eve". This book is hauntingly beautiful as it explores the making of a doctor. The author intersperses the detachment needed in her lab dissections with stories of mortality in her own family and in other countries. I give this book the highest rating, but again, don't say I didn't warn you. MY RATING - 5 To see my rating scale and to read other reviews, please visit my blog at: http://www.1776books.blogspot.com
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
What a beautifully written story that helps to understand the bridge from regular person to physician thru the completion of gross anatomy lab. The book is well crafted with history and personal stories along the way. Highly recommended read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
An unbelievably well written account of a student's first year in Medical School. I am going to start med school in the summer and I am so happy I found this book. Must read for anyone even remotely interested in medicine.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Body of Work is a masterpiece representation of art (poetry) meeting science. I found myself unable to put it down and dreaded completing it. Dr. Montross has given the reader a very rare glimpse into the psyche and life of a medical student. She was open, honest,and specific. Body of Work was also very lyrical and read with incredible ease. I really liked how Dr. Montross incorporated Fine Art (her research in Italy), History, and Medicine, which made the book cohesive and readable for anyone, whether an artist or a medical professional or not. Thoroughly enjoyed this book and am looking forward to future books by this author. It is highly likely that I will read this one again. Thanks for a great book, Dr. Montross and Congratulations!!!