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The Book of Madness and Cures: A Novel
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Published:
Little, Brown and Company 2012
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Description
Dr. Gabriella Mondini, a strong-willed, young Venetian woman, has followed her father in the path of medicine. She possesses a singleminded passion for the art of physick, even though, in 1590, the male-dominated establishment is reluctant to accept a woman doctor. So when her father disappears on a mysterious journey, Gabriella's own status in the Venetian medical society is threatened. Her father has left clues — beautiful, thoughtful, sometimes torrid, and often enigmatic letters from his travels as he researches his vast encyclopedia, The Book of Diseases.
After ten years of missing his kindness, insight, and guidance, Gabriella decides to set off on a quest to find him — a daunting journey that will take her through great university cities, centers of medicine, and remote villages across Europe. Despite setbacks, wary strangers, and the menaces of the road, the young doctor bravely follows the clues to her lost father, all while taking notes on maladies and treating the ill to supplement her own work.
Gorgeous and brilliantly written, and filled with details about science, medicine, food, and madness, The Book of Madness and Cures is an unforgettable debut.
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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
04/10/2012
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780316201186, 9780316195829
ASIN:
B005SCRQ4S
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Citations
APA Citation (style guide)

Regina O'Melveny. (2012). The Book of Madness and Cures: A Novel. Little, Brown and Company.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Regina O'Melveny. 2012. The Book of Madness and Cures: A Novel. Little, Brown and Company.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Regina O'Melveny, The Book of Madness and Cures: A Novel. Little, Brown and Company, 2012.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Regina O'Melveny. The Book of Madness and Cures: A Novel. Little, Brown and Company, 2012.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2022. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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        Regina O'Melveny's poetry has been published widely in literary journals, garnering several prizes. She grew up at the edge of pungent chaparral in La Mesa, California, and chose to enroll at Callison College — a school of International Studies at the University of the Pacific — almost solely based upon the fact that the second year would be spent in India. Thus began her many extended travels that would later inspire The Book of Madness and Cures, her first novel. She lives in Rancho Palos Verdes, California.

      • name: Regina O'Melveny
publishDate
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title
The Book of Madness and Cures
fullDescription
Dr. Gabriella Mondini, a strong-willed, young Venetian woman, has followed her father in the path of medicine. She possesses a singleminded passion for the art of physick, even though, in 1590, the male-dominated establishment is reluctant to accept a woman doctor. So when her father disappears on a mysterious journey, Gabriella's own status in the Venetian medical society is threatened. Her father has left clues — beautiful, thoughtful, sometimes torrid, and often enigmatic letters from his travels as he researches his vast encyclopedia, The Book of Diseases.
After ten years of missing his kindness, insight, and guidance, Gabriella decides to set off on a quest to find him — a daunting journey that will take her through great university cities, centers of medicine, and remote villages across Europe. Despite setbacks, wary strangers, and the menaces of the road, the young doctor bravely follows the clues to her lost father, all while taking notes on maladies and treating the ill to supplement her own work.
Gorgeous and brilliantly written, and filled with details about science, medicine, food, and madness, The Book of Madness and Cures is an unforgettable debut.
reviews
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        June 25, 2012
        Set during the Renaissance, O’Melveny’s novel follows the efforts of Dr. Gabriella Mondini to locate her long-missing father (also a medical doctor) and, in the process, save her career in the male-dominated field of medicine. Determined to bring her father home to Venice, Gabriella embarks on a quest that will test her mettle and take her across Europe and North Africa. Katherine Kellgren provides strong narration, reading with an aristocratic tone, deftly handling foreign words and phrases, and providing a diverse range of voices and accents for the characters. Kellgren’s reading of Gabriella’s travels across lush lands, seas, lakes, and mountains will pull the listener into the narrative and this audio edition. A Little, Brown hardcover.

      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        February 20, 2012
        Poet O’Melveny’s debut fiction is like a lyrical composite creature—part father/daughter epistolary novel, part aristocratic diary, part adventurer’s travelogue, and part compendium of allegorical diseases. When 16th-century Venetian doctor Gabriella Mondini is barred from practicing medicine, she sets off across Europe in search of her father, a respected doctor who left under mysterious circumstances 10 years ago to gather material for his Book of Diseases. As a rare female doctor, Gabriella needs his mentorship, but his letters have grown increasingly incoherent; as she follows his route, she hears disturbing stories about his erratic behavior. Forced to cut off her distinctive red hair, she travels as a man through villages empty of women and girls after mass witch burnings. Her own adventures begin to rival the tales in her father’s letters as she encounters suspicion, condescension, respect, and even romance. Gabriella’s father continues to elude her, and she must face the possibility that she no longer knows where to find him. Yet she cannot resume her own life until she does. Gabriella’s servants Olmina and Lorenzo accompany her and act as a pair of Sancho Panzas, providing mild salt-of-the-earth comic relief when not worn down by a yearning for home. By the time Gabriella reaches Morocco, where she believes her father to be, she too yearns for the comforts of Venice. But she has changed in ways that will greatly complicate her return. Readers will be delighted by O’Melveny’s whimsical embellishments, though veterans of historical fiction may balk at the poetic, metaphor-laden prose and fancifully piebald construction. Maps. Agent: Daniel Lazar, Writers House.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        March 15, 2012
        Poet O'Melveny's darkly whimsical first novel follows a 16th-century Venetian doctor as she travels across Europe in search of her father. Gabriella's physician father taught her his craft, and they practiced medicine together before he left Gabriella and her depressed, paranoid mother 10 years earlier, supposedly to gather material for his great project, The Book of Diseases. He has written letters over the years, but their frequency has dwindled; now, in 1590, he writes that he will not be returning. As a female doctor, she has been restricted to treating only women, but now the Guild of Physicians denies 30-year-old Gabriella her right to practice medicine at all. So with her loyal maidservant Olmina and Olmina's trusted husband Lorenzo, Gabriella bids a testy farewell to her harridan of a mother and departs Venetia in search of her father. She brings her medicine trunk, her father's letters and the pages from her father's book about mysterious ailments like solar madness and the malady of mirrors. She visits Padua, where her father's friend hints at her father's tendency toward madness. She passes as a man through villages in Bavaria, where most of the women have recently been burned as witches. She steals back some of her father's papers from a Bavarian professor. In Scotland she meets Hamish, a doctor who knew her father. He arranges for her to treat some patients, although for all the talk of medicine Gabriella is never shown doing much actual healing. She and Hamish are drawn to each other, although their romance may strike readers as lukewarm. Unaware that she is pregnant, she leaves without telling him, but he stalwartly follows her to Tangier until her search ends. Along the way Gabriella becomes less sure of the boundary between devotion and obsession. She faces dangers both from nature and men. There are deaths. There is sex. But mostly there is pretentious talk. O'Melveny writes with rococo flourish, but Gabriella's journey becomes a slog.

        COPYRIGHT(2012) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        November 15, 2011

        Like real-life Early Baroque painter Artemisia Gentileschi, affectingly portrayed in Susan Vreeland's The Passion of Artemisia, and Ariana Franklin's Adelia Aguilar (e.g., Mistress of the Art of Death), Gabriella Mondini is a woman ahead of her time. She's the lone female practicing medicine (with her father's sponsorship) in 16th-century Venice. Then her father vanishes, and she spends years traveling from Italy to Scotland to Morocco and more to find him, teased along by the occasional letter he's sent. In her fiction debut, poet O'Melveny draws on her Italian artist mother's memories of Venice and her own father's disappearance when she was young to create a story of real longing. A big push, with specially slipcased galleys featuring the beautiful cover. I'm betting on this one.

        Copyright 2011 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        February 15, 2012
        In O'Melveny's innovative, accomplished debut, a female doctor's travels throughout Renaissance Europe create a striking historical tableau, but the personal connections she makes en route provide the emotional drive. In 1590, Gabriella Mondini loses her physicians' guild membership due to her mentor-father's longtime absence and leaves Venice to find him. His previous letters provide clues to his location and mental state, which appears to be deteriorating. With her devoted servants, she treks across many lands, sharing medical lore with other scholars, suffering occasional losses, and learning about herself. The established religionProtestant or Catholicand treatment of women vary from place to place. A red-haired Scottish doctor becomes a kindred spirit and more, while some German villages remain eerily absent of females following a massive witch hunt. During the journey's initial stops, Gabriella comes across as rather distant; midway through, however, a surprising revelation shakes up her reserve and kicks the narrative into high gear. O'Melveny draws her scenes with vivid immediacy, opening readers' eyes to the mysteries and wonders surrounding them during this transformative time. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: The publisher is organizing a big publicity push for what it believes will be a breakout title for spring. It's a safe bet that the marketing effort, combined with the strong reviews the novel is bound to garner, will create plenty of reader interest.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2012, American Library Association.)

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        Starred review from March 1, 2012

        This debut novel from a prize-winning poet is an elegant portrait of a resolute woman who practices medicine in 16th-century Venice. After the disappearance of her physician father, who had trained her, Gabriella Mondini is no longer able to work openly in her beloved profession. So she sets out with two servants to find him, on a journey that takes her across Europe, from Scotland to the Netherlands to Switzerland and, finally, down to Morocco. Along the way, she meets other healers, who introduce her to strange diseases and ancient remedies that she adds to the encyclopedia started by her father. She also learns more about the human spirit and the complexities of life, death, and love. VERDICT Inspired by the disappearance of her own father, as well as the memories of her Italian artist mother, O'Melveny has written a compelling drama with a strong female lead. The writing is superb, particularly when the author describes the exotic locales and ancient superstitions Gabriella encounters on her travels. The book will especially attract readers who enjoy female-centered historical novels whose plots are not driven by romance. [See Prepub Alert, 10/14/11.]--Lucy Roehrig, Ann Arbor Dist. Lib., MI

        Copyright 2012 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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shortDescription
Dr. Gabriella Mondini, a strong-willed, young Venetian woman, has followed her father in the path of medicine. She possesses a singleminded passion for the art of physick, even though, in 1590, the male-dominated establishment is reluctant to accept a woman doctor. So when her father disappears on a mysterious journey, Gabriella's own status in the Venetian medical society is threatened. Her father has left clues — beautiful, thoughtful, sometimes torrid, and often enigmatic letters from his travels as he researches his vast encyclopedia, The Book of Diseases.
After ten years of missing his kindness, insight, and guidance, Gabriella decides to set off on a quest to find him — a daunting journey that will take her through great university cities, centers of medicine, and remote villages across Europe. Despite setbacks, wary strangers, and the menaces of the road, the young doctor bravely follows the clues to her lost father, all while taking notes on maladies and...
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