Stein, Michael D.

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Stein, Michael D.

PERSONAL:

Education: Harvard University, graduated 1981.

ADDRESSES:

Office—Department of Medicine, Brown Medical School, 593 Eddy St., Providence, RI 02903. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Brown University, Providence, RI, professor of medicine and community health.

WRITINGS:

The Lonely Patient: How We Experience Illness (nonfiction), William Morrow (New York, NY), 2007.

NOVELS

Probabilities, Permanent Press (Sag Harbor, NY), 1995.

The White Life, Permanent Press (Sag Harbor, NY), 1999.

The Lynching Tree, Permanent Press (Sag Harbor, NY), 2000.

This Room Is Yours, Permanent Press (Sag Harbor, NY), 2004.

In the Age of Love, Permanent Press (Sag Harbor, NY), 2007.

SIDELIGHTS:

Michael D. Stein is a physician and professor of medicine who has also established himself as a successful novelist. He has also published a nonfiction book on the nature of illness and the doctor-patient relationship. In This Room Is Yours, which was Stein's fourth novel, the author explores the changing roles of parent and child, in a story about a man's relationship with his mother, who has Alzheimer's disease. The plot follows the narrator—who, like his mother, remains unnamed throughout—as he moves his mother from her New Jersey home to an assisted-care facility in Providence, Rhode Island. Depressed and increasingly confused by her daily life, she seems a far cry from the independent, bossy woman the narrator once knew as his mother. The book shows him visiting his mother on a series of Thursdays, seeing her slow decline week by week, and little by little, he gives up his resentment of the past, forgiving his mother as she becomes increasingly helpless. A Kirkus Reviews writer described the book as ‘moving without a hint of sentimentality: an extremely sad and emotionally realistic tale of normal, troubled life as it is lived in the face of sickness and death."

In the Age of Love, another of Stein's novels, concerns two lovers, Lily and Jonathan, who reunite at a professional conference after being separated by twelve years. Their feelings are rekindled, but Lily is now married and the mother of a small child. They must sort out whether their emotions have any validity in their current circumstances or are simply a reflection of the past. ‘Stein has written a sensitive and nuanced tale,’ stated Lawrence Rungren in Library Journal. Allison Block, reviewing for Booklist, commented that while the book covers some often-used themes, the author does a good job creating characters that are ‘satisfyingly complex,’ writing in prose that is ‘lean and spare."

Stein's nonfiction book The Lonely Patient: How We Experience Illness had its start in a series of lectures the author gave at Brown University Medical School. The book also grew out of his experience of his brother-in-law's terminal illness, and his realization that doctors are trained to keep an emotional distance between themselves and their patients. Stein seeks to analyze feelings that are typical to those who are seriously ill, focusing on four powerful emotions experienced by most: a sense of betrayal, terror, and feelings of loss and loneliness. Besides his own observations and insights, he offers information from case studies and excerpts from other writers that are pertinent to his subject. According to Johnette Rodriguez on the Boston Phoenix Web site: ‘The pithy quotes he chooses deftly underscore and elaborate the points he is making.’ Fran Mentch, a writer for Library Journal, noted that the author's ‘narrative powers and artistic sensibility are obvious in this moving meditation on the emotional aspects of illness."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, February 1, 2007, Donna Chavez, review of The Lonely Patient: How We Experience Illness, p. 13; March 1, 2007, Allison Block, review of In the Age of Love, p. 65.

Kirkus Reviews, July 1, 2004, review of This Room Is Yours, p. 604; February 1, 2007, review of In the Age of Love, p. 97.

Library Journal, February 15, 2007, Fran Mentch, review of The Lonely Patient, p. 142; March 15, 2007, Lawrence Rungren, review of In the Age of Love, p. 66.

Publishers Weekly, November 27, 2006, review of The Lonely Patient, p. 41; January 15, 2007, review of In the Age of Love, p. 28.

ONLINE

Boston Phoenix,http://thephoenix.com/ (April 18, 2007), Johnette Rodriguez, review of The Lonely Patient.

Brown Alumni Magazine Online,http://www.brownalumnimagazine.com/ (October 30, 2007), Linda Heuman, interview with Michael Stein, (October 30, 2007), Edward Hardy, review of This Room Is Yours.

Brown University Web site,http://directory.brown.edu/ (September 28, 2007), biographical information about Michael D. Stein.