Verdict: Spellbinding, ART ON THE HUMAN HEART is an eye opening, and inspirational read on matters of the heart.
Events in a young and promising cardiologist’s life send a wake up call, and it all begins with a heart attack.
Thirty-nine-year-old Dr. Paul Ho is incredibly good at what he does. Better known as “Dr. Paul” by his patients, the young cardiologist approaches the operation table and instrumentation like an artist does his canvas and tools, as he skillfully cares for high-risk patients. A perfectionist with absolutely no patience for mediocrity in the medical field, Dr. Paul is also known among staff for his hot temper and sharp tongue. Obviously there are reasons for Dr. Paul’s condescending persona. Yet—as if caught momentarily in the Twilight Zone—it takes two near-death experiences for Dr. Paul to finally confront the unresolved issues of the most precious aspect of his life: his heart.
Inspired by true events, Ho takes his biographical sketch and molds it into a quasi-fictional novel. Although Ho is featured as the principal character, it is difficult to identify which portions of his first person narrative are true, partially true, or completely fabricated. Nevertheless, Ho is quite a storyteller, and what he presents—including original artwork–is absolutely fascinating. Grabbing the attention of his audience from the get-go, Ho opens with an action-packed scene during the time of Dr. Paul’s heart attack before rewinding into past events. In addition to Dr. Paul, Ho includes a full and well-developed cast that plays crucial roles throughout the doc’s life.
While focusing on Dr. Paul’s pre-med and career experiences, Ho also incorporates other important elements, such as his meager beginnings and emigrating to America from Hong Kong, his relationship with Salma—the women of his dream and perfect soul mate, and most importantly a kayaking expedition that evolves into a spiritual journey—a major turning point in Dr. Paul’s life. Ho keeps his narrative fluid by combining all of the above-mentioned scenarios and elements—a perfect mix of back stories and the present—and alternating them between chapters.
Of particular interest is the way Ho’s employs medical lingo. Besides supplying a convenient glossary at the close of his book, Ho not only skillfully weaves definitions within his plot, but also sufficiently repeats terms in a natural frequency so that the terms become commonplace.
Spellbinding, ART ON THE HUMAN HEART is an eye opening, and inspirational read on matters of the heart.