My Own Country

A Doctor's Story

Publisher: Vintage
Nestled in the Smoky Mountains of eastern Tennessee, the town of Johnson City had always seemed exempt from the anxieties of modern American life. But when the local hospital treated its first AIDS patient, a crisis that had once seemed an “urban problem” had arrived in the town to stay.
   
Working in Johnson City was Abraham Verghese, a young Indian doctor specializing in infectious diseases. Dr. Verghese became by necessity the local AIDS expert, soon besieged by a shocking number of male and female patients whose stories came to occupy his mind, and even take over his life. Verghese brought a singular perspective to Johnson City: as a doctor unique in his abilities; as an outsider who could talk to people suspicious of local practitioners; above all, as a writer of grace and compassion who saw that what was happening in this conservative community was both a medical and a spiritual emergency.
   
Out of his experience comes a startling but ultimately uplifting portrait of the American heartland as it confronts—and surmounts—its deepest prejudices and fears.

READ AN EXCERPT

1

SUMMER, 1985. A young man is driving down from New York to visit his parents in Johnson City, Tennessee.

I can hear the radio playing. I can picture his parents waiting, his mother cooking his favorite food, his father pacing. I see the young man in my mind, despite the years that have passed; I can see him...
Read More

READING GUIDE

The questions, discussion topics, and author biography that follow are intended to enhance your group's reading of Abraham Verghese's My Own Country. We hope they will enrich your understanding of a book that is rich in themes for stimulating group discussion.

1. Verghese describes the early eighties,...

Read More

PRAISE FOR

NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD FINALIST

“A fine mix of compassion and precision.... Verghese makes indelible narratives of his cases, and they read like wrenching short stories.”
—Pico Iyer, Time

“A richly textured portrait of a small Southern town.... Immensely moving. In describing his own odyssey as a healer, Verghese displays rare candor and eloquence.”
USA Today

“Memorable.... Fascinating. We come away from My Own Country with an abiding admiration for the good and compassionate work  Dr. Verghese has conducted.”
—Michael Dorris, Los Angeles Times

“Remarkable.... An account of the plague years in America. Beautifully written, fascinating and tragic, by a doctor who was changed and shaped by his patients.”
—Perri Klass, The New York Times Book Review