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

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

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

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

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. 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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780143113669
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 05/27/2008
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 918,561
Product dimensions: 5.25(w) x 7.95(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Christine Montross is a practicing inpatient psychiatrist and an assistant professor of psychiatry and human behavior at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. She lives in Providence, Rhode Island.

Table of Contents

Preface: Mystery     1
Bone Box     7
First Cut     15
Breath and Blood     31
Anatomical Precedence     45
Origins of a Corpse     63
In Pursuit of Wonder     93
The Bodies of Strangers     119
Toll     137
The Discomfort of Doctoring     163
An Unsteady Balance     183
Pelvis     211
Dismantled     251
Epilogue: Good-bye     291
Bibliography     293
Acknowledgments     296

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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