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The Afflictions

12.00
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The Afflictions

12.00

Shadowing an elderly librarian on his first day at the great Central Library, Máximo is thrilled to get a peek at the exclusive Encyclopedia of Medicine. It’s a dizzying collection of maladies: an amnesia that causes everyone you’ve ever met to forget you exist, while you remain perfectly, painfully aware of your history. A wound that grows with each dark thought or evil deed you commit but shrinks with every act of kindness. A disease that causes your body to imitate death, stopping your heart, cooling your blood. Will the fit pass before they bury you—or after? 

As Máximo soon discovers, medicine at the Central Library may be more than he bargained for.

The Afflictions is a magical compendium of pseudo-diseases, an encyclopedia of archaic medicine written by a contemporary physician and scientist. Little by little, these bizarre and mystical afflictions frame an eternal struggle: between human desire and the limits of bodily existence.

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Shadowing an elderly librarian on his first day at the great Central Library, Máximo is thrilled to get a peek at the exclusive Encyclopedia of Medicine. It’s a dizzying collection of maladies: an amnesia that causes everyone you’ve ever met to forget you exist, while you remain perfectly, painfully aware of your history. A wound that grows with each dark thought or evil deed you commit but shrinks with every act of kindness. A disease that causes your body to imitate death, stopping your heart, cooling your blood. Will the fit pass before they bury you—or after? 

As Máximo soon discovers, medicine at the Central Library may be more than he bargained for.

The Afflictions is a magical compendium of pseudo-diseases, an encyclopedia of archaic medicine written by a contemporary physician and scientist. Little by little, these bizarre and mystical afflictions frame an eternal struggle: between human desire and the limits of bodily existence.

"The beauty of The Afflictions comes from the fact that it is an unabashedly entertaining narrative that revels in weirdness and impossibility while also packing a much more profound layer in which Paralkar explores the frailty, failures, and absurdity of human nature." -Atticus Review

"The Afflictions returns us to the idea of the essential interconnectedness of mind and body, that our faculties of memory, of language, of morality, of love, are no less real and necessary to survival than the organs of the heart or kidney or lungs." -The Believer

"The Afflictions does not stop at a unique sickness and turn the consequences into a story. It catalogues a world of unknown ailments, touches on the moral ramifications of each, and lets the reader imagine the rest." -Tweed's Magazine

Listen to an interview with Vikram Paralkar on WHYY's The Pulse.

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About the Author

Vikram Paralkar was born in Mumbai, India. He moved to the United States in 2005 after completing medical school and is now a hematologist and researcher at the University of Pennsylvania. His writing has been published in the New England Journal of Medicine and he is a recipient of the American Society of Hematology’s Scholar Award.