The Physician

Multi Thread Journey

By Noah Gordon
USA, 1986
Historical Fiction, Coming of Age, Epic

Main Attractions

1. Avicenna (Ibn Sina)
2. Epic Journey
3. Covers a Lifetime
4. From Europe to Middle East
5. Cultural Diffusion
6. Christian->Jewish->Muslim Journey
7. Joyous & Easy to Read
8. Detailed Insights
9. Great Plotting & Character Development
10. Standalone & Trilogy Part 1

Cuisine & Delicacies

Ranked as: Steak
Without question! Juicy bits, hearty epic scope in every way an epic can be, and a joy to read and soak up.  The world Gordon creates is so rich and it draws you in!  It’s the world building that readers dream about.  It begins with Gordon’s word choice, he uses words that evoke the time and place of Medieval Europe.  His words are not archaic or dusty, they are resonating and alive.  Brilliant job!  And he carries that right up until the final pages.  When the characters reach the Middle East,  his words complement that region as well.

Why Visit Here

It’s armchair travelling in a storytelling form.  He includes physical travelling and the character development from the point of view of growing up, 3 major religious traditions, falling in love and becoming educated as a physician.  Exquisitely done! 

Destination Summary

Movie Adaptation Trailer: Full of Spoilers! And some major plot changes.  

Off the Beaten Path

Avicenna (Western Nickname) or Ibn Sina (Persian Romanization) I'll dig up a cool video!

Travel Advisory

A few paragraphs of grisly medical procedures.  It was easy to skip, Gordon clearly says, we must operate now.  Skip 3 paragraphs and it’s over.  The rest, no advisory needed ^.^

Packing List

✓ Google for looking up the amazing Middle East buildings referenced.
✓ The movie adaptation after you’ve read it
✓ Tissues for tears of joy and sorrow
✓ An extra copy to give as a gift: graduation, job promotion, holiday

Recommended Resources
Alternate Fiction Books
Roots By Alex Haley (1976) - This book covers the lifetime and journey of the main character, it includes his original culture and adaptation to a wildly different one.
✓ The Alchemist By Paulo Coelho (1988) - It’s a lighter, shorter, book.  More of a fairy tale but still includes some of the soul seeking themes, just without any religious connotations.  It’s a great prepper for the Physician.  

Alternate Non-Fiction Books
✓ Avicenna By Jon McGinnis (2010) - Academically explores the works & thoughts that heavily influenced The Physician.
✓ House of Wisdom: How the Arabs Transformed Western Civilization By Jonathan Lyons (2008) - Possibly talks about Avicenna’s library and goes deeper into school that The Physician covers.
✓ A Thousand Sighs, A Thousand Revolts: Journeys in Kurdistan By Christians Bird (2004) - A travelogue, anthropology approach to the history of these nomadic people.  They have a huge impact on the history and culture of the Middle East region.
✓ The Carpet Wars: From Kabul to Baghdad: A Ten-Year Journey Along Ancient Trade Routes By Christopher Kremmer (2002) - Micro history of ‘Persian Rugs’ and their trade routes.  This book covers the journey part of The Physician.

Movie Adaptation
✓ The Physician (2013) Directed by Philipp Stolzl - Fantastic adaptation!! They made some major plot changes that may be questionable.  But for the sake of condensing an epic into 2 hours, it keeps the heart of the book.