A Pandemic in Residence
Essays from a Detroit Hospital
A debut essay collection of remarkable breadth and erudition by a young Pakistani-American doctor and writer.
During the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, Selina Mahmood—in the middle of the first year of her neurology residency—found scraps of time between grueling shifts to write. The resulting A Pandemic in Residence: Essays from a Detroit Hospital is her personal and meticulous document of an unprecedented year in medicine, and the debut of a young and uncommon talent. In the tradition of writers like Oliver Sacks and Paul Kalanithi, Dr. Mahmood takes the science of neurology and spins it into poetry, exploring theories of the mind, Pakistani-American identity, immigration, family, the history of medicine, and, of course, the challenges of becoming a physician in the midst of a global health crisis. Skipping nimbly across continents and drawing inspiration from an array of sources ranging from Thomas Edison to Yuval Harari to Beyoncé, she has with this collection crafted an elegant, incisive, utterly original investigation.
A Pandemic in Residence is a must-read for anyone seeking insight into our universal search for meaning.