Huyler, Frank 1964-
HUYLER, Frank 1964-
PERSONAL: Born 1964, in Berkeley, CA; married, 2000. Education: Williams College, B.A., 1986; University of North Carolina School of Medicine, M.D., M.P.H.
ADDRESSES: Home—Albuquerque, NM. Offıce—c/o University of New Mexico Hospitals, 2211 Lomas Boulevard, N.E., Albuquerque, NM 87106. Agent— Christy Fletcher, Fletcher and Parry, The Carriage House, 121 East 17th Street, New York, NY 10003.
CAREER: Emergency medicine physician, educator, and author. University of New Mexico Hospitals, Albuquerque, resident, 1993-96; physician, 1996—; University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, assistant professor of emergency medicine.
The Blood of Strangers: Stories from Emergency Medicine, University of California Press (Berkeley, CA), 1999.
The Laws of Invisible Things (novel), Henry Hold (New York, NY), 2004.
Contributor of stories and poetry to periodicals, including Atlantic Monthly, Georgia Review, and Poetry.
SIDELIGHTS: A practicing physician who works in emergency medicine, Frank Huyler writes about the people and situations he comes in contact with every day on the job. Although he excelled in the humanities over science at school, and majored in English at Williams College in Massachusetts, Huyler felt the natural career paths that followed such an education were less practical than he desired, and so he shifted direction and attended medical school at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. From there he completed his residency at the University of New Mexico Hospitals in Albuquerque, then stayed on after he had qualified as a doctor. Because his love of writing remained he follows in the footsteps of such medical scribes as William Carlos Williams and Ethan Canin, producing both poetry and fiction.
Huyler's first book, The Blood of Strangers: Stories from Emergency Medicine, is a collection of short stories based on his emergency room experiences. Though not strictly true, the situations in his work are grounded in actual events. In an interview with Matt Seaton for the Guardian Online, Huyler explained, "the emergency room is a very strange, surreal place at times. . . . You have these very intense moments where you're asking these very personal questions of people who are strangers to you. . . . There's a facelessness on both sides, and yet you're propelled into moments where you discuss issues that you never would in another world. There is a kind of 'distant intimacy.'" Those are the moments, the connections, that drive Huyler's stories. A contributor to Publishers Weekly stated that "this haunting, exquisitely observed collection of medical vignettes is much more than a compilation of odd cases from the emergency room. Huyler probes beneath the surface to reveal the marrow." Hastings Center Report reviewer Abigail Zuger wrote that "The Blood of Strangers is a work of art, an utter pleasure to read and reread, and a good example of how transcendent medical stories can be in the right hands." She went on to say that "the prose is lucid and assured enough, and the view idiosyncratic enough, that the usual clichés are simply not here. . . . Instead, Huyler shows us the startling small poems everywhere." By sharing his experiences, Huyler also helps the reader understand why there is an emotional distance between patient and physician during emergency room care. Julian Keeling, in a review for the New Statesman, noted that "Huyler builds a picture of the emergency room and its shifting cast of characters as a lurid, claustrophobic setting, and his infrequent forays out of it. . . allow us welcome breaths of untainted air."
The Laws of Invisible Things recounts the experiences of Michael Grant, a young doctor who has a young girl die in his care. Grant is unsure if he did everything in his power to save the child, so when her father also appears as a patient, Grant does not feel able to turn him away. He discovers an odd pattern on the back of the man's throat and in his eye, but before he can find an explanation, the man dies in a mysterious fire and Grant begins to come down with the same symptoms. A reviewer for Publishers Weekly wrote: "Chilling, subdued and scalpel sharp, this debut novel. . . explores the hazy borderlines of sin and disease." Dick Adler, writing for Chicago's Tribune Books, commented that, "in lesser hands, the book's ending could easily have turned into just a blast of weird science or heavy-handed symbolism. But Huyler's wisdom and restraint make it something more original." In a review for the Boston Globe, Robert Knox remarked that "Huyler's insider knowledge gives us authoritatively dramatic accounts of the blood-and-gut wrestling of the medical expertise with failing flesh. Combined with his powers of psychological observation and storytelling skill, this privileged perspective gives us the inside story on both sides of the mortal collision in the ER."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, September 1, 1999, William Beatty, review of The Blood of Strangers: Stories from Emergency Medicine, p. 51; March 15, 2004, Donna Chavez, review of The Laws of Invisible Things, p. 1264.
Boston Globe, August 18, 2004, Robert Knox, "Intense Novel Captures a Doctor in Crisis," p. B6.
British Medical Journal, May 19, 2001, Giles Kent, review of The Blood of Strangers, p. 1252.
Economist, April 10, 2004, review of The Laws of Invisible Things, p. 71.
Entertainment Weekly, April 9, 2004, Thom Geier, review of The Laws of Invisible Things, p. 90.
Guardian, January 6, 2001, Matt Seaton, "Distant Intimacy."
Hastings Center Report, May, 2000, Abigail Zuger, review of The Blood of Strangers, p. 48.
Journal of the American Medical Association, August 18, 2004, Tony Miksanek, review of The Laws of Invisible Things, p. 869.
Kirkus Reviews, January 15, 2004, review of The Laws of Invisible Things, p. 54.
Library Journal, April 1, 2004, A. J. Wright, review of The Laws of Invisible Things, p. 122.
New Statesman, January 15, 2001, Julian Keeling, "Deathbeds," p. 54.
Publishers Weekly, August 30, 1999, review of The Blood of Strangers, p. 65; March 1, 2004, review of The Laws of Invisible Things, p. 49.
San Francisco Chronicle, May 25, 2004, David Kipen, "Of Things that Return to Vex Us: Doctor Faces Midlife Crisis," p. E1.
Tribune Books (Chicago, IL), April 4, 2004, Dick Adler, "Domestic Troubles, Foreign Intrigue: Lawyer, Priests, Doctors, and Cops Rule the Roost," p. 3.
FictionWise.com,http://www.fictionwise.com/ (September 27, 2004), "Frank Huyler."
Guardian Online,http://books.guardian.co.uk/ (September 27, 2004), "Frank Huyler."
University of New Mexico Hospitals Web site,http://hsc.unm.edu/ (September 27, 2004), "Frank Huyler."*