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Books, Journals, New Media
August 24/31, 2005

Fiction

Author Affiliations
 

Books, Journals, New Media Section Editor: Harriet S. Meyer, MD, Contributing Editor, JAMA; Journal Review Editor: Brenda L. Seago, MLS, MA, Medical College of Virginia, Virginia Commonwealth University.

JAMA. 2005;294(8):966-968. doi:10.1001/jama.294.8.966-b

In his novel The Healer, author Michael Blumlein spins a dramatic tale centered on the life of Payne, a “starry-eyed, idealistic” member of a downtrodden ethnic minority group called Grotesques. Tesques, as members of this group are referred to by humans to whom they are subservient, are analogues of humans, with the exception of an occipital deformity and a chest orifice called the Os melior.

The Os melior bestows Tesques with extraordinary healing powers, making them a “precious commodity” for humans, who transport them like chattel around the world in their indefatigable quest for economic prosperity. Unlike other Tesque healers, who have developed an aversion to their healing powers because of the consequent servitude, Payne views his healing powers as a gift that represents the only foreseeable means, save violence, of convincing humans of the merits of embracing equality.

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