Instantly recognizable, the appealing characters in these stories are the able sort who can cope with any crisis at work but are often undone by the complexities of life at home. They are parents, doctors, patients, friends, and lovers, who encounter one another in sickness and in health, for better or for worse, in a world in which professional expertise -- even the finest medical expertise -- cannot always ward off threats to everyday happiness.
In Freedom Fighter, a pregnant obstetrician steals a getaway weekend with an old friend among the outlet malls of northern New England. A fruit-fly geneticist in The Trouble with Sophie struggles to contend with her daughter's jargon-spouting kindergarten teacher. In Intimacy, a high school biology teacher, exhausted by new motherhood, listens bleary-eyed to the details of her coworker's intimacy counseling with her latest boyfriend. And in Necessary Risks, an anesthesiologist balks at spending two weeks alone with her energetic and precocious four-year-old. Including three O. Henry Award -- winning stories, LOVE AND MODERN MEDICINE is full of small wonders and large satisfactions.