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The Tennis Partner: A Doctor's Story of Friendship and Loss Audio Cassette – Abridged, Audiobook

4.3 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio Cassette
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; Abridged Ed edition (Sept. 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0694520195
  • ISBN-13: 978-0694520190
  • Product Dimensions: 1.9 x 11.4 x 18.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 8,179,993 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Amazon Review

Abraham Verghese's first book My Own Country was about his experiences of dealing with AIDS sufferers; this, his second, is more personal. It is the story of his friendship with David, an intern at the hospital where Verghese is a Professor of Medicine. They meet at a time when both are in need of companionship and their friendship blossoms, imperceptibly developing dependencies until their lives are enmeshed professionally and personally. However, what Verghese does not realise is that David is wrestling with an addiction to cocaine, the profession's personal demon, which engulfed him once before and is hovering again. The harrowing descent into relapse that unfolds is as painful to read as it must have been to witness, until finally death swoops with tragic inevitability, leaving a debris of spent souls trying to piece together something that defies clinical definition.

The Tennis Partner is primarily about relationships; Verghese's with David, both with their families and partners, but most of all David's with cocaine, a telling hierarchy in itself. While Verghese's tennis improves, his opponent's shaky mastery of his own destiny deteriorates as he fails to put to rest the feelings of inadequacy and shame that are his true companions, a player who can control the ball to perfection but cannot get a grip on himself. As a doctor Verghese comes across as one of the rare breed who have not been de-sensitised, pointedly seeing a person rather than an ailment. He works in internal medicine, and prides himself on piecing together a diagnosis like a detective (David revealingly lusts after the buzz of emergency medicine). As a writer he displays similar qualities, but not without a searching candour that gives his account its expressive vitality. The truth is, though, that for all his humane lyricism he can only diagnose, there seeming to be an aspect that cannot be quantified to the addictive personality that refuses release. The very least to have come from the subordinated life of a doomed young man is this brilliant and sober book, which refrains from being a morality tale, and only gains in magnificence for it. --David Vincent --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"With writerly grace, Verghese introduces us to the disciplines he holds sacred: tennis, internal medicine, fatherhood, male friendship. Everywhere he is a diagnostician, a teacher, a lover of physical presence. But finally as he walks the back alleys of El Paso searching for his drug-abusing colleague, we understand who Verghese is at his core, a man of honor who goes down mean streets and remains himself good enough for any world. This is an extraordinary book."-- Peter D. Kramer, author of "Listening to Prozac""Abraham Verghese has show us once again that he is an old fashioned physician of the soul. Most extraordinarily, he finds metaphors for the blessings of humanity in the arts of tennis as healing. He recounts the living abundance of friendship and the dissolution of a brilliant friend and doctor. Dr. Verghese writes in a miraculous style-courageous yet tender. The Tennis Partner supersedes any memoir I've ever read. It is wonderful examination of what it means to be alive."-- Kaye Gibbons, author of "On the Occasion of My Last Afternoon" "Hit[s] even closer to home than the AIDS epidemic of which he wrote previously . . . this is a compulsively readable and painful book, a work of compassion and intelligence." -- "Kirkus Reviews""This is a knockout book. Beautifully written, it broke my heart and made me happy all at the same time. I loved Verghese's My Own Country and this even ups the ante--more intense, even closer to the edge."-- Natalie Goldberg, author of "Writing Down the Bones""The Tennis Partner, by Abraham Verghese, is a tale of luminescent humanity. Set in El Paso, Texas, backyard to a shifting Frontera world of great beauty, turmoil and transformation, it goesdeeper than any book I have ever read to put its finger on the pulse of what friendship truly means. It is a book for everyone of us who has deeply loved and mourned the fragile, ever-changing nature of caring, with its inherent need to ultimately let go. A brave and honest book, The Tennis Partner, haunts and empowers with each volley."-- Denise Chavez, author of "Face of an Angel""Abraham Verghese is a wonderful storyteller. The language is irresistible, clear as springwater, sharp as the ring of fine crystal. I enjoyed every word."-- W. P. Kinsella, author of "Shoeless Joe" and "The Iowa Baseball Confederacy""Verghese is a fine writer, lyrical and controlled, and he captures the attachment between the two men--its motives, its allure--with both precision and charm. . . . Wise and compassionate."-- 'New York Times Book Review"Verghese writes with such searching lucidity and is so attentive and engaging a figure that he could hold us just by describing his drives around town. . . . At its core his is a brave and heart-baring story about how even a teacher of internal medicine could not see inside the person closest to him. . . . It will speak to anyone who has looked with his heart instead of his eyes." -- Time"Heartbreaking. . . . Indelible and haunting, [The Tennis Partner] is an elegy to friendship found, and ode to a good friend lost."-- The Boston Globe"Despite the poignancy of the subject matter . . . Verghese's telling of it never gets heavy-handed. Instead, he uses his bedside voice: caring, but also slightly detached and startlingly frank."-- New York"Elegantly written."-- Sunday Times (London)"Moving and insightful"-- Publishers Weekly"A melancholy and powerful readingexperience."-- Booklist"With an economy of words, Verghese has produced a haunting book of high literary merit that is certain to be a success."--Library Journal "Excellent. . . . penetrating. . . . [The Tennis Partner] is no small literary achievement."-- Sports Illustrated"Gripping. . . . moving. . . . Verghese shows himself to be a thoughtful and honest navigator through life. His pain . . . is impossible not to share."-- Detroit Free Press"[Verghese] displays perfect pitch in this emotionally charged tale. . . . Readers . . . . will be enthralled by his sleuthing into the human heart."-- Entertainment Weekly"Eloquent. .. . . a beautifully wrought memoir. . . . This is a terribly sad story, gorgeously expressed."-- Newsday"A compassionate book. . . .Verghese once again opens his heart to the reader."-- San Antonio Express News"Remarkable. It's a terrific read, even if you're not a tennis fan."-- Star Tribune (Minneapolis)"The Tennis Partner is beautifully written, an outstanding example of nonfiction writing that conveys facts about a subject without being pedantic. . . . Verghese's sincerity makes an indelible impression on his readers while his revelations enlighten us."-- Chattanooga Free Press"Poignant. . . . The metaphors that underlie tennis permeate the book and give 'The Tennis Partner' some wonderfully mythic moments. Such moments . . . give the book a power that resonates well beyond its topical interest."-- Chicago Tribune --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
One would think that Mr. Verghese could not come up with anything better than "My Own Country". He has certainly proved me wrong with this book. The intertwining of tennis with his growing relationship with David is a work of art, and I doubt if many authors have the ability to write with such senstivity. Someone once said that a good book is one which makes you wish that the author is your personal friend, and you can sit down with him and talk about his book. This book did excatly this for me. I wish I could have sat down with Mr. Verghese and discussed his relationship with David. I found myself so immersed in the book that I felt a part of all the emotions, the joys and the desperations as if I myself was going through them.
And in the end, I sniffled, enough for a concerned fellow passengar on the train to ask, "Are you okay mate?"
Don't miss it !!
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Format: Hardcover
I love this book to bits and have read it many times over the last few years. What "makes it" is the warm attention to detail Verghese brings to his descriptions of relationships; as the central theme, the subtleties what go with a close relationship between men such as himself and David, and the effects of drug abuse both on the user and those around them - but also his interactions with patients, his passion for medicine, the multiple childhood insecurities which linger into adulthood, the problems of being an "outsider," the difficulties of a failing marriage and its repercussions on young children. You will weep, but you'll feel better for it! A quick search on Google will also reveal the ways in which Verghese has initiated very welcome projects intended to help keeping medical students "human." He's a good guy.
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Format: Paperback
It has been a long time since I have wept at the end of a book, surprising since I had realized from the Dedication what would happen. I had fallen headfirst into "Cutting for Stone, Verghese's more recent book and so wanted to read others. He has a way of showing you every detail of the story, whether it be the minutiae of medicine and cures, or the feelings of his characters. He remains humbly the story teller, no matter how involved he is as a character, and unrolls the tale in a way you cannot resist following. Tennis was such a full metaphor for how to conduct ones life. As I said, I wept, not just for David and Verghese himself, but also for the countless people who are left less than human and destroyed by the addictions of our world.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I had read his first book after reading a review in the Library. Although this book is basically about his life with his tennis partner and how they lean on each other for emotional support throughout different times in their life, the book is very moving and well written and I'm only sad that he has only got two books published. Well written and highly recommended.
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Format: Paperback
If you read the dedication you know from the start that David Smith will die before the book is written, so there is no dramatic suspense. Dr Verghese writes beautifully and is moved by the memory of his friendship at a time when his own marriage had failed, but I did not find his tennis partner interesting enough to justify 345 pages. Perhaps if I knew something about tennis it would have been different. Verghese's hospital adventures with Smith, who is his medical student, interested me but might be disagreeable for a squeamish reader, and the succession of hopeless drug addicts is depressing. Verghese made the mistake of trying to coax his pupil into the slow detective work of internal medicine, when what he needed was the addictive rush of emergency work. Altogether a sad book.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I usually avoid books that even mention AIDs but our group chose this well-written book and I am glad I read it. The member who chose this book said that it always made him cry at the end. Another member said that the last few pages were captivating.

However, one of out members said, `I gave up- half way through. It's a very dull book and the author doesn't discern what matters and what doesn't. He just includes everything; it doesn't manage successfully to turn autobiography into a novel.'

The chapters are short so it can be savoured. We learn that doctors were homophobic in early days of AIDs but that this has changed as they got to know patients and their relatives and saw the ordinary lives they lead.

The two main characters are foreigners adjusting to a new country but David's life shows the dark underside of the American dream of renewal. He stands at a juncture between two opposite paths: an orderly middle class existence in medicine with a wife and a "dream house"; and the hell of drug addiction, shame, poverty, disease and death. Is his choice of hell a rejection of a hollow, spiritually vacant, respectable middle class existence?

The author sees the doctor as a `minister of healing': touch more important than gadgets. Storing medical records on computers, he says, doesn't make up for the shortage of primary-care physicians (he reckons all trainee doctors should do a year of prima care in a poor area) and does nothing for the true care of the anxious patient. US Medicare pays doctors to do rather than listen. Verghese says that diagnosing is like looking for a white tennis ball which you can't always see. One member said that he would love to have Abe as his doctor; he is so good at observation.
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