Aleksandar Hemon on Storytelling, Grief, and American Medical Care

At the October 2013 edition of Narrative Medicine Rounds, which drew more than 100 people, author Aleksandar Hemon read from his New Yorker essay on his daughter Isabel’s critical, isolating illness, “The Aquarium.”

Afterward, he took questions from the audience and reflected on the purpose of writing and storytelling, grief (“It should tuck the person you lost into this corner where they are visible but distant.”), American medical care (“Doctors treat your broken body but not your mind.”), and the language of catastrophe (“We never have language for catastrophe; it has to be developed as it’s happening.”).

Listen to a recording of Hemon’s talk and other editions of Narrative Medicine Rounds at iTunes U. Narrative Medicine Rounds, held the first Wednesday of each month, September through May, are free and require no RSVP. View a full schedule of Narrative Medicine events here.