The story of two mothers and a father in love with the same daughter, Samuel Shem's At the Heart of the Universe is an epic novel set deep in rural China against the backdrop of an ancient mountain monastery during the time of the one-child-per-family policy. Inspired by the author's experiences as parent of an adopted child, it describes the drama of adoption and the journey of loss and rebirth that can happen when a daughter brings together her adopted mother and father with her birth mother high on a mountaintop.Set in 1991 in Changsha, capital of Hunan province, as a Chinese woman abandons her one-month-old daughter in a pile of celery in a busy market, and then shifting to Changsha ten years later as the daughter returns with her adopted American parents, the story moves across southern China until, high atop Emei San, one of China's "sacred mountains" with a Buddhist temple, the four are brought together in the wilderness--a perilous and explosive time that unleashes their heartbreak and suffering and, remarkably, transcends it to shared compassion, and new beginnings.From the Hardcover edition.
Drama / 3m, 3f (w/doubling) / Unit set Newly revised edition! From the author of the best-selling novel, The House of God, this critically acclaimed version which played Off-Broadway in 2007, tells the amazing story of the two men who pioneered Alcoholics Anonymous, and of their wives, who founded Al Anon. During the roaring '20s, New York stockbroker Bill Wilson rides high on money, fame, and booze. In '29, both he and the market crash and he becomes a hopeless drunk. Dr. Bob Smith, a surgeon in Akron, Ohio, and a pillar of the community, has been a secret drunk for thirty years, often going into the operating room hungover and high on sedatives. His family has tried everything to no avail. Through an astonishing series of events involving doctors, ministers, the Oxford Group evangelical movement, and Henrietta Sieberling a scion of the Goodyear Rubber fortune, Bill and Bob meet on Mother's Day of 1935. The two men form a relationship which keeps each sober. Fired up, they seek out a third drunk to see if their program will work for others. Richly textured with the ragtime and jazz of the era, the play tells a magnificent American success story. "A deeply human, audience embracing tale." - Variety "One of the best plays of the year." - San Diego Union Tribune "Inspiring." - Boston Globe
As the category of women's spirituality continues to grow, The Buddha's Wife offers to a broad audience for the first time the intimate and profound story of Princess Yasodhara, the wife Buddha left behind, and her alternative journey to spiritual enlightenment.What do we know of the wife and child the Buddha abandoned when he went off to seek his enlightenment? The Buddha's Wife brings this rarely told story to the forefront, offering a nuanced portrait of this compelling and compassionate figure while also examining the practical applications her teachings have on our modern lives. Princess Yasodhara's journey is one full of loss, grief, and suffering. But through it, she discovered her own enlightenment within the deep bonds of community and "ordinary" relationships. While traditional Buddhism emphasizes solitary meditation, Yasodhara's experience speaks of "The Path of Right Relation," of achieving awareness not alone but together with others. The Buddha's Wife is comprised of two parts: the first part is a historical narrative of Yasodhara's fascinating story, and the second part is a "how-to" reader's companion filled with life lessons, practices, and reflections for the modern seeker. Her story provides a relational path, one which speaks directly to our everyday lives and offers a doorway to profound spiritual maturation, awakening, and wisdom beyond the solitary, heroic journey.
By turns heartbreaking, hilarious, and utterly human, The House of God is a mesmerizing and provocative journey that takes us into the lives of Roy Basch and five of his fellow interns at the most renowned teaching hospital in the country. Young Dr. Basch and his irreverent confident, known only as the Fat Man, will learn not only how to be fine doctors but, eventually, good human beings. <P> Samuel Shem has done what few in American medicine have dared to do--create an unvarnished, unglorified, and amazingly forthright portrait revealing the depth of caring, pain, pathos, and tragedy felt by all who spend their lives treating patients and stand at the crossroads between science and humanity. <P> With over two million copies sold worldwide, The House of God has been hailed as one of the most important medical novels of the twentieth century and compared to Sinclair Lewis's Arrowsmith for its poignant portrayal of the education of American doctors.
From the Laws of Mount Misery:There are no laws in psychiatry.Now, from the author of the riotous, moving, bestselling classic, The House of God, comes a lacerating and brilliant novel of doctors and patients in a psychiatric hospital. Mount Misery is a prestigious facility set in the rolling green hills of New England, its country club atmosphere maintained by generous corporate contributions. Dr. Roy Basch (hero of The House of God) is lucky enough to train there *only to discover doctors caught up in the circus of competing psychiatric theories, and patients who are often there for one main reason: they've got good insurance.From the Laws of Mount Misery:Your colleagues will hurt you more than your patients.On rounds at Mount Misery, it's not always easy for Basch to tell the patients from the doctors: Errol Cabot, the drug cowboy whose practice provides him with guinea pigs for his imaginative prescription cocktails . . . Blair Heiler, the world expert on borderlines (a diagnosis that applies to just about everybody) . . . A. K. Lowell, née Aliyah K. Lowenschteiner, whose Freudian analytic technique is so razor sharp it prohibits her from actually speaking to patients . . . And Schlomo Dove, the loony, outlandish shrink accused of having sex with a beautiful, well-to-do female patient.From the Laws of Mount Misery:Psychiatrists specialize in their defects. For Basch the practice of psychiatry soon becomes a nightmare in which psychiatrists compete with one another to find the best ways to reduce human beings to blubbering drug-addled pods, or incite them to an extreme where excessive rage is the only rational response, or tie them up in Freudian knots. And all the while, the doctors seem less interested in their patients' mental health than in a host of other things *managed care insurance money, drug company research grants and kickbacks, and their own professional advancement.From the Laws of Mount Misery:In psychiatry, first comes treatment, then comes diagnosis.What The House of God did for doctoring the body, Mount Misery does for doctoring the mind. A practicing psychiatrist, Samuel Shem brings vivid authenticity and extraordinary storytelling gifts to this long-awaited sequel, to create a novel that is laugh-out-loud hilarious, terrifying, and provocative. Filled with biting irony and a wonderful sense of the absurd, Mount Misery tells you everything you'll never learn in therapy. And it's a hell of a lot funnier.From the Hardcover edition.
Now in his most ambitious novel yet, Shem returns to dissect the complicated relationships between mothers and sons, ghosts and bullies, doctors and patients, the past and the present, and love and death. Settled into a relationship with an Italian yoga instructor and working in Europe, Dr. Orville Rose's peace is shaken by his mother's death. <P><P> On his return to Columbia, a Hudson River town of quirky people and "plagued by breakage," he learns that his mother has willed him a large sum of money, her 1981 Chrysler, and her Victorian house in the center of town. There's one odd catch: he must live in her house for one year and thirteen days. As he struggles with his decision--to stay and meet the terms of the will or return to his life in Italy--Orville reconnects with family, reunites with former friends, and comes to terms with old rivals and bitter memories. In the process he'll discover his own history, as well as his mother's, and finally learn what it really means to be a healer, and to be healed.
Samuel Shem and Janet Surrey, a remarkable husband-and-wife team, challenge bestselling books that say men and women must resign themselves to inherent differences between them. Drawing on their extensive clinical experience as psychiatrist and psychologist, Shem and Surrey outline a program of healing dialogues to help any couple move beyond superficial harmony to genuine connection.
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