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10 thoughts on “The Spanish Doctor

  1. Simmonsmry Simmonsmry says:

    This historic novel takes us back in time to 14th century Europe, beginning in Toledo The title character, Avram Halevi, is a secular Jew, born of a violent rape, and forced to convert to Christianity under the sword as a tender child The religion in this novel through characters labelled as Christian, Jewish and Muslim iscultural than spiritual Most of these characters do not have a relationship with their version of the Divine they are socially defined but the religion into whi This historic novel takes us back in time to 14th century Europe, beginning in Toledo The title character, Avram Halevi, is a secular Jew, born of a violent rape, and forced to convert to Christianity under the sword as a tender child The religion in this novel through characters labelled as Christian, Jewish and Muslim iscultural than spiritual Most of these characters do not have a relationship with their version of the Divine they are socially defined but the religion into which they were born this remains unchanged by forced conversions Religion frames identity.While the vast majority of this novel may be construed as social and religious commentary, there are moments of spiritual insight One of the Jewish characters, Moses Viladestes, offers this wisdom without the heart the soul can never ascend to God Once you have believed with your heart, then you must feel what is deeper, the beat of your soul For the soul is your immortality, the tiny grain of God within you And when you love God, your soul is connected to God again and God s strength is in you Aside from the religious aspect of this novel, the medical aspect is a fascinating glimpse into the Middle Ages So much of the human body was a mystery at that time, and it is a reminder that much of it remains a mystery Dr Halevi marvels at the body s ability to survive extraordinary circumstances He sees himself as a facilitator, allowing the life force to act as the agent to health Life attracts life, just as the willow tree by the water contained the essence that cured rheumatism caused by damp, just as flowers that bloomed in the sun gave sweet pollen and honey Doctors and surgeons could encourage or frustrate this force of life, but they nothan astrologers or necromancers or alchemists could make it exist where there was none Cohen also offers some profound thoughts on death in this novel Death was what was left when life somehow slipped away Death was what happened to those he Halevi had impaled on his furious sword Halevi is conflicted by his reality As a doctor, he is committed to saving lives As a persecuted Jew, he comes under attack and fights back, taking the lives of others in order to save his own These acts of violence haunt him, as do the ghosts of those who died, the ones he loved and the ones he killed.This novel is at times melodramatic and the prose could be tedious It is rather long and could perhaps have benefitted from further editing In spite of this, there were gems certainly worth reading It is a tale of intrigue, suspense, conflict, faith, and love and made for a largely interesting summer read Not too deep or too shallow, overall entertaining and enjoyable


  2. Tom Tom says:

    This book traces the life of Jewish physician, Avram Halevi, from 1391 144 He develops into a gifted surgeon trained at Montpellier and practicing in Spain during the times of the Jewish persecutions there It extends to the establishment of his family in Kiev.At times I was reminded of the life of Maimonides, the Jewish Hippocrates except that this chronicle was suffused with the violence and sex of that age.As we watch the development of this individual, through triumph and despair, the key This book traces the life of Jewish physician, Avram Halevi, from 1391 144 He develops into a gifted surgeon trained at Montpellier and practicing in Spain during the times of the Jewish persecutions there It extends to the establishment of his family in Kiev.At times I was reminded of the life of Maimonides, the Jewish Hippocrates except that this chronicle was suffused with the violence and sex of that age.As we watch the development of this individual, through triumph and despair, the key sentence in the book is delivered by an individual who acted as a rabbi to the Jews of Kiev who encourages Halevi to Admit that you are a man who knows himself This is a reminder that the first field of knowledge described by the ancients was self knowledge Maimonides would have understood perfectly


  3. Richard Rogers Richard Rogers says:

    This is a hard book, but a good one Well written Affecting Not what I expected, frankly, but that s my fault.This is the story of a Jewish man in 14th Century Spain who becomes a successful doctor As much as anything, it is a biography, following him across Europe and across the decades of his life It is also the story of the violence against Jews at that time in Spain and France and Italy and elsewhere, and the intolerable choice they were given convert, giving up your identity, or face e This is a hard book, but a good one Well written Affecting Not what I expected, frankly, but that s my fault.This is the story of a Jewish man in 14th Century Spain who becomes a successful doctor As much as anything, it is a biography, following him across Europe and across the decades of his life It is also the story of the violence against Jews at that time in Spain and France and Italy and elsewhere, and the intolerable choice they were given convert, giving up your identity, or face extermination at the hands of the mob, which was fully supported by the church And, if you convert, be ready to be hated and attacked anyway.There was onechoice move away, losing everything, but still face the same violence in another country, sooner or later.It is suffocating and horrifying to read about Avram Halevi and how he tried to navigate a world that hated him from birth Before birth, really, as he was conceived when a Christian rioter raped his mother This theme continued throughout There were no right choices for him or for his people There was no Just leave us alone option There was no hiding There was only murder and destruction, followed by the survivors rebuilding and moving on.This is novel isliterary than I expected I took it forof a genre novel, historical fiction with a triumphant hero sort of thing, but it s not that As a result, the pacing is different than I looked for, the story and conflict broader But I liked it, despite my scant appreciation, usually, for literary novels The writing is spectacular, the canvas is wide, the history is engrossing, and I m glad I gave it a chance.Some of it is ugly Some is brutal Some is tragic But some is beautiful and even hopeful I m gonna hold on to those bits.Recommended, especially for those who lean toward literary fiction


  4. Tom Gray Tom Gray says:

    The Spanish Doctor is a serious literary novel of the tension between the personal and the collective identity it is at the same time a page turning adventure story set in early Renaissance Europe It is quite a read in both ways As a literary novel, it exploration of the issue of identity is entirely pertinent to our time when teh same issue is being exploited by authoritarians and nativists to their own purposes As an adventure story, it traces the story of a life of a ma who is torn by a The Spanish Doctor is a serious literary novel of the tension between the personal and the collective identity it is at the same time a page turning adventure story set in early Renaissance Europe It is quite a read in both ways As a literary novel, it exploration of the issue of identity is entirely pertinent to our time when teh same issue is being exploited by authoritarians and nativists to their own purposes As an adventure story, it traces the story of a life of a ma who is torn by avocation for medicine and the necessity of killing to defend the lives of himself, his family and his people I recommend this novel very highly on both counts


  5. Sandi *~The Pirate Wench~* Sandi *~The Pirate Wench~* says:

    2 1 2 starsReally had a hard time with this one.Way too much political religion for me to grasp.Leanstowards literary fiction..if that s your cuppa.Long winded,dragged..then got into some scenes not for the squeamish.Cover fooled me, thought it would have had romance that would have kept my attention at least Took me forever to finish it


  6. jgagnon jgagnon says:

    interesting story, but some passages are a bit long winded


  7. Irene Reid Irene Reid says:

    I bought this book because I had just returned from a short break in Toledo I loved Toledo and was intrigued by the snippets of history I read about.Overall I enjoyed it, but perhaps because I had seen and explored some of the places in the book In fact the book also takes its characters to Bologna which I also know The story is at its best in the first half of the book set in the Toledo Juderia as the Christians turn against the Jews and attack It wanders a bit in the second half as it se I bought this book because I had just returned from a short break in Toledo I loved Toledo and was intrigued by the snippets of history I read about.Overall I enjoyed it, but perhaps because I had seen and explored some of the places in the book In fact the book also takes its characters to Bologna which I also know The story is at its best in the first half of the book set in the Toledo Juderia as the Christians turn against the Jews and attack It wanders a bit in the second half as it seems the author ran out purpose and didn t know how to finish the story


  8. Tricia Tricia says:

    I really enjoyed the history and setting of this book It was a fascinating account of how the Jews fled the inquisitions in the 14th and 15th century I had some trouble understanding the Doctor s feelings but had it explained in the end, although not quite convincingly enough for me.


  9. El Segoviano El Segoviano says:

    No puedo acordarme por el tiemp transcurrido desde que lo lei, pero tengo una buena impresi n de l.


  10. Foreign Foreign says:

    French editor Daniel Arsand


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The Spanish Doctor [PDF] ✩ The Spanish Doctor By Matt Cohen – Thomashillier.co.uk The story of Avram Halevi of Toledo, a late th century Jewish doctor forced to convert to Christianity at the age of ten He becomes a physician and surgeon in Montpellier and returns to the poor Jewis The story of Avram Halevi of Toledo, a late th century Jewish doctor forced to convert to Christianity at the age of ten He becomes a physician and surgeon in Montpellier and returns to the poor Jewish sector of his native city to live a dangerous professional life, serving the Christian rich His relationship with the beautiful, ambitious Gabriela founders as his people are scattered in yet another attack by misguided Christian zealotsHis cousin, Antonio, is cruelly tortured and Halevi euthanizes him in prison Escaping Toledo, he returns to Montpellier where he finds friends, a wife, The Spanish PDF/EPUB or a family, and eventually a professorship, but religious rivalry again intervenes through the brutality of a worldly cardinal Try as he might to remain above the fray of religious and political struggles, Halevi is stripped of all he holds dear and dragged into controversy again because he senses what is morally right.

  • Paperback
  • 472 pages
  • The Spanish Doctor
  • Matt Cohen
  • English
  • 23 February 2019
  • 0140077103

About the Author: Matt Cohen

Matt Cohen studied political economy at the University of Toronto, and taught political philosophy and religion at McMaster University in the late s before publishing his first novel, Korsoniloff, in His greatest popular success as a writer was his final novel, Elizabeth and After, which won the Governor General s Award for English language Fiction only a few weeks before his death He had been nominated twice previously, but had not won, in for The Sweet Second Summer of Kitty Malone and in for Last Seen A founding member of the Writers The Spanish PDF/EPUB or Union of Canada, he served on the executive board for many years and as president in During his presidency the Writer s Union was finally able to persuade the government of Canada to form a commission and establish a Public Lending Right program He also served on the Toronto Arts Council as chair of the Literary Division and was able to obtain increased funding for writers In recognition of this work he was awarded a Toronto Arts Award and the Harbourfront Prize Cohen died after a battle with lung cancer A Canadian literary award, the Matt Cohen Prize In Celebration of a Writing Life, is presented in Cohen s memory by the Writer s Trust of Canada He also published a number of children s books under the pseudonym Teddy Jam Cohen s authorship of the Teddy Jam books was not revealed until after his death The Fishing Summer was also nominated for a Governor General s Award for children s literature in , making Cohen one of the few writers ever to be nominated for Governor General s Awards in two different categories in the same year A film adaptation of his novel Emotional Arithmetic has been produced by Triptych films starring Max von Sydow, Christopher Plummer, Gabriel Byrne and Susan Sarandon It was the closing Gala at the Toronto International Film Festival in .