Monday, December 14, 2015

the last book I ever read (A Little Life: A Novel by Hanya Yanagihara, excerpt six)

from A Little Life: A Novel by Hanya Yanagihara:

We had met in New York, where I was in law school and she was in medical school, and after graduating, I got a clerkship in Boston, and she (one year older than I) started her internship. She was training to be an oncologist. I had been admiring of that, of course, because of what it suggested: there is nothing more soothing than a woman who wants to heal, whom you imagine bent maternally over a patient, her lab coat white as clouds. But Liesl didn’t want to be admired: she was interested in oncology because it was one of the harder disciplines, because it was thought to be more cerebral. She and her fellow oncological interns had scorn for the radiologists (too mercenary), the cardiologist (too puffed-up and pleased with themselves), the pediatricians (too sentimental), and especially the surgeons (unspeakably arrogant) and the dermatologists (beneath comment, although they of course worked with them frequently). They liked the anesthesiologists (weird and geeky and fastidious, and prone to addiction), the pathologists (even more cerebral than they), and—well, that was about it. Sometimes a group of them would come over to our house, and would linger after dinner discussing cases and studies, while their partners—lawyers and historians and writers and lesser scientists—were ignored until we slunk off to the living room to discuss the various trivial, less-interesting things with which we occupied our days.

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