The Desire to Heal

A Doctor's Education in Empathy, Identity, and Poetry

Rafael Campo (Author)

Overview | Inside the Book

"Campo's gift is being able to describe the evolution of his manhood... fearlessly and with breathtaking honesty. He is truly a doctor of the soul."—Abraham Verghese

"Rafael Campo is that rare and exotic hybrid," raved the Boston Globe, "a doctor-poet, with a sensualist point of view that leads him to explore... the eroticism of healing-the laying on of hands." In this "unrelenting effort to humanize the medical profession" (Publishers Weekly), Campo turns the doctor-patient relationship inside out, writing not just of his attempts to heal, but of how his patients have healed him. He writes of campy Aurora, "dying of love"; the elderly woman telling of her trip to the country to pick "big-as-your-hands" peaches; a hateful addict he wished would die; and Gary, whom he feared to love, "contentious and gossipy and irreverent." Campo's work, "reminiscent of Chekhov... [in] the way language comes up out of the body" (Los Angeles Times), restores "the transcendent power of language to redeem" as, throughout the book, "the narrative, and the narrator, only get more luscious" (Out).

Book Details

  • Paperback
  • June 1998
  • ISBN 978-0-393-31771-8
  • 5.5 × 8.2 in / 272 pages
  • Sales Territory: Worldwide

Endorsements & Reviews

“An extraordinary memoir about the body and the soul.” — Richard Rodriguez

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