The Tennis Partner (Paperback)
An unforgettable, illuminating story of how men live and how they survive, from Abraham Verghese, the acclaimed New York Times bestselling author of Cutting for Stone and The Covenant of Water, an Oprah's Book Club Pick.
“Heartbreaking. . . . Indelible and haunting, [The Tennis Partner] is an elegy to friendship found, and an ode to a good friend lost.”—The Boston Globe
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.
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.
“Heartbreaking. . . . Indelible and haunting, [The Tennis Partner] is an elegy to friendship found, and an ode to a good friend lost.” — The Boston Globe
“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
“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
“Poignant. . . . The metaphors that underlie tennis permeate the book and give The Tennis Partner. . . . a power that resonates well beyond its topical interest.” — Chicago Tribune
“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
“A tale of luminescent humanity. . . . It goes deeper 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
“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
“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