Verghese’s first novel – after the memoirs “My Own Country” (1994) and “The Tennis Partner” (1998) – was recently published in paperback (Vintage; 667 pages; $15.95), and the much-acclaimed book is back on best-seller lists. And so the physician and author who grew up in Ethiopia, then lived in New Jersey, India, Tennessee, Boston and Texas – and is now a professor of medicine at Stanford – finds himself journeying once again, crisscrossing the country on a book tour and venturing to Europe to mark the publication of his novel in foreign languages.
We caught up with Verghese by e-mail as he traveled from Boston to Spain.
Q: As a man of medicine, weren’t you aware of the harm that reading a 600-page novel can cause to one’s wrists?
A: I was more worried about my own wrists, lugging around thrice that many pages in double-spaced manuscript form! But I confess to a love of big books, the kind you don’t want to end.