Wet Engine: Exploring the Mad Wild Miracle of the Heart

Overview

In this poignant and startlingly original book, Brian Doyle examines the heart as a physical organ—how it is supposed to work, how surgeons try to fix it when it doesn’t—and as a metaphor: the seat of the soul, the power house of the body, the essence of spirituality. In a series of profoundly moving ruminations, Doyle considers the scientific, emotional, literary, philosophical, and spiritual understandings of the heart—from cardiology to courage, from love letters and pop songs to Jesus. Weaving these strands ...

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Paperback (New edition, originally pubished by Paraclete Press in 2005)
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Overview

In this poignant and startlingly original book, Brian Doyle examines the heart as a physical organ—how it is supposed to work, how surgeons try to fix it when it doesn’t—and as a metaphor: the seat of the soul, the power house of the body, the essence of spirituality. In a series of profoundly moving ruminations, Doyle considers the scientific, emotional, literary, philosophical, and spiritual understandings of the heart—from cardiology to courage, from love letters and pop songs to Jesus. Weaving these strands together is the torment of Doyle’s own infant son’s heart surgery and the inspiring story of the young heart doctor who saved Liam’s life.

The Wet Engine is a book that will change how you feel and think about the mysterious, fragile human heart. This new paperback edition includes a foreword by Dr. Marla Salmon, dean of the University of Washington School of Nursing.

 

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Nine years ago the author's wife gave birth to twin boys. One was entirely normal, but the other was missing a chamber in his heart. At five months and again at 18 months, Liam had open-heart surgery. Someday he will need a heart transplant, but for now he "runs around like an insane dorky gawky goofy heron and rides his bike and shoots hoop, and skateboards and swings and punches out his brother and snarls at his sister and refuses to make his bed...." This book is about Liam, and it is also about his surgeon, his family and dozens of others with heart-related stories. It is about heart as a physical organ-how it is supposed to work, how surgeons try to fix it when it doesn't-and about heart as a metaphor for "the distilled essence of character and spirit." Most of all, it is about love, which has "many forms and levels and shapes and flavors and speeds and depths and topographies and landscapes and colors and musics." Doyle, the author of four other books of essays, sometimes spins out of control with sprawling stream-of-consciousness sentences, and he says "waaaay" waaaay too often. Still, it is hard to put down this wide-ranging meditation on the fragile mysteries of human life. (May) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780870716539
  • Publisher: Oregon State University Press
  • Publication date: 4/15/2012
  • Edition description: New edition, originally pubished by Paraclete Press in 2005
  • Pages: 128
  • Sales rank: 592,479
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Brian Doyle is the author of twelve books, including the novel Mink River and The Grail, his account of a year in a vineyard in Oregon. He edits Portland Magazine at the University of Portland.

 

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Read an Excerpt

“My son Liam was born nine years ago. He looked like a cucumber on steroids. He was fat and bald and round. He looked healthy as a horse. He wasn’t. He was missing a chamber in his heart, which is a problem, as you need four chambers for smooth conduct through this vale of fears and tears, and he only had three chambers, so pretty soon he had an open-heart surgery, during which doctors cut him open and iced down his heart and shut it down for an hour or so while they worked on repair…” —from The Wet Engine

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Table of Contents

Foreword Maria Salmon 1

Introduction 3

1 The Infinite Number of Things That Can Go Wrong with the Hearts of New People 7

2 Heartchitecture 16

3 Hope 30

4 Imo Pectore 39

5 Hagop 54

6 Joyas Volardores 60

7 Gad 69

8 Well, There Are a Lot of Stories 78

9 A Heartful of Patients 93

10 How We Wrestle Is Who We Are 108

Thanks & Sources 115

Donations & Involvements 118

About Brian Doyle 120

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