David Biro C’86 is a doctor twice over: in addition to his MD he holds a PhD in literature from Oxford. He’s also a man who has straddled both sides of the doctor/patient divide, and his harrowing experience as the recipient of a bone marrow transplant informs every page of his unusual new book. The Language of Pain is a distillation of Biro’s doctoral thesis, in which he pairs his own observations as a doctor with close readings of literature from the likes of Hemingway and Tolstoy. In Biro’s view, the most insidious aspect of pain is not simply that it hurts, but that it cuts us off from others.
In the most recent Gazette, Biro’s book was reviewed by Kayla Rosen, who has dual credentials of her own: she’s a fourth year student at Penn Med and a prize-winning poet. To hear more of Kayla thoughts after reading the book, I sat down with her a few days ago at her apartment in Philadelphia. I hope you enjoy the conversation.