"[T]he author makes it clear in his choice of title (taken from an Auden poem) that what the piece is really about is a man and his search for love - his quest for a “normal heart.” The epidemic is merely the background for his personal transformation..."
"The plot is ambitious and romantic, and the characters' internal lives richly imagined. A thoughtful treatment of the costs and consequences of public disregard of the plight of the mentally ill and disabled."
"Born in 1921 to Jewish immigrant parents, “Barney” Barnett describes his life in medicine and education, from his earliest love of science and learning through his medical and residency education in general internal medicine, his success as an academic physician, and finally his judicious decision to retire..."
"Blow’s account of growing up in rural Louisiana, exposed to negligence, sexual molestation, violence, and loss focuses on a child’s strategies of survival first, and then on sexual confusion, social ambition, and discovery of the gifts that led him to his life as a writer for the New York Times..."
"A bicycling, bee-keeping, British neurosurgeon approaching the end of his professional career recalls some distinctive patients, surgical triumphs as well as notable failures, difficult decisions, and mistakes."