The Tennis Partner: A Doctor's Story of Friendship and Loss

The Tennis Partner: A Doctor's Story of Friendship and Loss

by Abraham Verghese

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Overview

An unforgettable, illuminating story of how men live and how they survive, from the acclaimed New York Times bestselling author of Cutting for Stone

When Abraham Verghese, a physician whose marriage is unraveling, relocates to El Paso, Texas, he hopes to make a fresh start as a staff member at the county hospital. There he meets David Smith, a medical student recovering from drug addiction, and the two men begin a tennis ritual that allows them to shed their inhibitions and find security in the sport they love and with each other. This friendship between doctor and intern grows increasingly rich and complex, more intimate than two men usually allow. Just when it seems nothing can go wrong, the dark beast from David’s past emerges once again—and almost everything Verghese has come to trust and believe in is threatened as David spirals out of control.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062116390
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 09/20/2011
Series: P.S. Series
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 196,983
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

A practicing physician and a professor of medicine at Stanford University, Abraham Verghese is the author of My Own Country and Cutting for Stone. His writing has appeared in The New Yorker, Granta, and other publications. He lives in Palo Alto, California.

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The Tennis Partner 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 20 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Having been personally trained by Dr. Verghese, I can say that his talent is truly remarkable. It is rather interesting how he describes all the events and scenes of El Paso so vividly and true, that when you are actually at the many locations in the book, one can recall and relay the exact details he describes in The Tennis Partner. He is very poetic, with an incredibly eloquent touch of deepness in his writing. With his worldly experiences as well as his vast knowledge of medicine, Dr. Verghese truly treats his patients with 'culture and sensitivity.' Some may say that I am biased for having known him, but if you could meet him and actually be trained by him, you would be able to see his incredible compassion for his patients, his students, medicine, writing, and the world itself. Very admirable.
SqueakyChu on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It¿s not often that I read a book about male friendship, but I believe this heartbreaking memoir is one of the best. The two friends are Abraham Verghese, author of this memoir and physician at a hospital in El Paso, Texas, and David Smith, a medical student from Australia who formerly had the opportunity to become a tennis professional. Due to the life circumstances of these two men, their bond begins somewhat tenuously. Later we find that, despite a strengthening bond which is inextricably linked to tennis, there is an unspoken barrier which can never be breached.The book is fascinating in its honesty. It captures so well the author¿s dedication to medicine, his love for tennis, the strength he musters in separating from his wife, his vulnerability in opening himself up to disappointment in friendship, and his understanding of the terrible cost of drug abuse. The easy, intelligent writing style of Dr.Verghese is beautiful to read. After finishing this book, one comes away with a feeling of knowing the author and a desire to hear more of what he has to say.
SamSattler on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Dr. Abraham Verghese is going through a difficult time when he meets fourth-year medical student David Smith at his El Paso teaching hospital. Verghese has moved his wife and two young sons to El Paso hoping for a fresh start, but his marriage is already in trouble and he will soon find himself living apart from his wife and boys. Australian David Smith is a Texas Tech student at the El Paso hospital to complete his final year before moving on to the next stage of his medical studies. Smith is going through a difficult time of his own, one that constantly threatens to ruin his life, if not end it entirely.The two seem destined to hit it off ¿ and, soon, they will be more than teacher and student, they will be close friends. They share two passions in life: medicine and tennis. Smith is good enough to have played the game professionally for a while, and Verghese loves tennis so much that he has been keeping journals about his progress in the sport since he was a boy. Both Verghese and Smith need something to distract them from the stress of their daily lives and the local tennis club becomes their common refuge. It is only later that Dr. Verghese learns that Smith is in El Paso to repeat his fourth-year studies ¿ and why - and that Smith is very fortunate to have been given a second chance at the process. David Smith is addicted to cocaine and it is destroying him. Despite being subject to random drug testing, regular AA-style meetings, and the monitoring of a sponsor if he is to keep his place in the school, Smith has to struggle mightily every day not to give in to his craving for the drug. That his professional future depends on him remaining sober will not be enough to make it happen."The Tennis Partner" is the story of a unique friendship between two men at a time in their lives when each man is in desperate need of the kind of support that only a close male friend can offer. At the hospital, Dr. Verghese is the teacher and mentor that Smith so badly needs; on the tennis court, Smith is the teacher, Verghese the student. When Dr. Verghese realizes that Smith is relapsing into his addiction, he finds it difficult to decide what his obligations are. Does he respond as Smith¿s friend or as his teacher? Do his obligations to the hospital override those he feels toward David as the only friend David Smith seems to have in the world?Those readers who discovered Abraham Verghese through his wonderful 2009 novel, "Cutting for Stone," will already know what a powerful fiction writer the man is. They will be happy to find that he displays the same skill level in 1998¿s "The Tennis Partner," his second memoir. The tragedy of David Smith¿s life provides the focal point of the book but, along the way, Verghese explores topics as varied as fatherhood, marriage, the health care system along the southern U.S. border, friendship, addiction, and loyalty.Rated at: 4.0
dickcraig on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is the second book by Verghese and I liked it nearly as much as the first. The author confides in one of his medical students about his divorce while the student teaches him the game of tennis. Verghese has keen observations of love and friendship as his partner sinks further into a bad drug habit.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Beautiful writing style. Reads like a novel.
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Moonmist More than 1 year ago
I was one of many individuals to have the privilege of knowing Dr. Verghese and David Smith through my association with Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center at El Paso. The story relating to David's tragic life and death hit me like it happened only yesterday. David was a person that everyone liked. He had a promising career as a physician who wanted to specialize in Emergency Medicine. Unfortunately, his drug addiction brought about his tragic end. This book should be read by anyone that has or is suffering from a drug addiction. From Dr. Verghese's story, one will be drawn into the promise and the darkness that overtook a young man before he could visualize and follow his dream.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
For any student of the game of tennis who is madly in love with the game and its ability to completely take over your life, 'The Tennis Partner' will ring true in many ways. Verghese understands the passion behind the game and how it can draw two men together despite the difficulties in their relationship. Written with a lucid prose, the book sometimes feels a bit raw in its emotion, but you can hardly fault the author for baring his soul about his love for the game of tennis and his desire to share it with his friend, despite his friend's struggle with drug addiction. The book also treads fragile ground by venturing forth into intense relationships between heterosexual men. The book is risky in its integrity as well as its intensity in the author's descriptions of his emotions for his tennis partner. But, best of all, he desribes beautifully what many of us love so much - the game of tennis.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is an incredibly honest accounting of a friendship -- and how the underlying needs, lacks and problems affect its outcome.