"Dr. Aronson writes lovely, nuanced stories...[and] joins the ranks of those immortalizing the small, realistic retails of modern medical care."

-The New York Times

“Aronson’s examination of medical culture in stories, of the brutality and tenderness at home and hospital, is a gem.”

-Washington Independent Review of Books

"Every one of the sixteen short stories in this interlocked collection is an exquisitely etched jewel… shining a spotlight on the state of American health care … The stories in this book and stories like them should become the underpinning of any further national discussion about health care legislation."

-Joystory Book Review

"Aronson effectively illustrates just how jumbled life can be. Hope is limping barely one step ahead of sadness. Human devotion and division, responsibility to self and others are only a smidgen of the subject matter examined by talented and knowledgeable Aronson."


"If your in search of fantastic literature (Yes, I said literature and not a series of stories told by a physician) then A History of the Present Illness is a must read. Does Louise really have time to doctor? If her writing wasn't fraught with such an accurate and profound understanding of what I have experienced, I would surely question whether one who has spent an inordinate amount of time learning how to be an MD could emote so eloquently.
There is so much good here."

-Jordan Grumet MD, In My Humble Opinion

“If you've ever wondered what goes on behind the closed doors of the sick and the wounded--not on television or in movies but really--then this is the book for you. Compassionate and even anguished, though quietly, Dr. Aronson paints a dark, Rembrandtian portrait. Fiction it may be, but it has the palette and the ring of truth.”

-Victoria Sweet, author of God’s Hotel

"Though her work brings to mind other physician-writers such as Abraham Verghese, Vincent Lam and Chris Adrian, Aronson's voice is all her own. Her creative take on the social consequences of a life in medicine, whether from the perspective of a doctor or a patient, is highly original, and she is remarkably adept at variations in narrative and story style."

-Shelf Awareness

“Some of the most startling and memorable stories I’ve ever read. A History of the Present Illness is a fascinating study of our fragile human condition, both physical and emotional. Here is a writer—and a doctor—whose empathy for her people, her characters, springs forth on every page.”

-Peter Orner, author of Love and Shame and Love

"Louise Aronson's stories are sharp and brilliantly cut like a laser to the heart of the matter. And that matter is often how present care givers, families and patients feel about their options to live and/or receive medical care or not in this complicated and uncertain world…I felt I was seeing some truths about physicians for the first time … an outstanding book of short stories with a wealth of humanity, knowledge and warning. Highly recommended as well for its ease of reading and its ability to mesmerize…and make me care about the doctors and the patients on a visceral level. Further, I loved the mix of cultural differences in handling the illnesses and aftermaths."

-A Bookish Libraria

“Eudora Welty described the work of another physician/story writer by saying that 'Chekhov's candor was exploratory and painstaking -- he might have used it as the doctor in him would know how, treating the need for truth between human beings as an emergency,' words that seem to me to also apply here. Aronson's quest, too, is for that truth.”

-Antonia Nelson, New Yorker author and novelist

“In A History of the Present Illness Louise Aronson invites us --with very little fanfare, but with a profound sense of truth--to bear witness to what it really means to be a flawed, sick human being in a flawed, sick world. These stories are about medicine exactly in the way that medicine is about life: here hospitals contain whole worlds, and the emotional and physical gestures of the urge to heal contain the whole fruitful and fruitless work of human connection.”

-Chris Adrian, MD, author of The Children’s Hospital and The Great Night

"Others have done this -- and done it well -- but Aronson's work stands out ... Her skill is in isolating the clearest, most revealing details and serving them up without sugar-coating.

-Rosina Lippi, author of Homestead and The Pajama Girls of Lambert Square

I devoured these stories... She combines a doctor's eye with a writer's heart …

-Elizabeth Day award winning journalist and author of Scissor Paper Stone

What sets A History of the Present Illness apart from all the other medical stories I have read is just how steeped it is in the nature of medicine; how, above all else, there is a deep humanity to being a doctor, and to being a patient, and to the relationship between the two…Aronson's writing is so beautifully descriptive, so flowing and insightful into the complex lives of doctors and patients alike that it's ridiculously easy to fall head-first into their experiences and get lost in the pages. All the while, it never gets bogged down in specialist medical terms and ensures that it remains accessible to the layperson. Again, this just lets the humanity and the emotions shine through, sometimes making you smile, sometimes punching you hard in the gut.


These are beautifully written stories that echo each other leaving a resonance that carries forth throughout. I love this new kind of short story collection where something cohesive happens and it hardly matters that different people take center stage. All of them, one way or another involved in doctoring, embody hard truths, facing the human condition beyond what most of us do and must make some relationship with that. Aronson nearly broke my heart with her stories and did so with admirable stylistic verve.


First-time author Aronson calls on her experience as a professor of medicine for this collection of short stories... But the stories are less concerned with medical details than with the inner lives of the characters and the psychological toll that health issues take on caregivers, patients and their families…Call it a less cute, more truthful version of Grey’s Anatomy…It’s the tense atmospheres that Aronson creates, and her empathy for her characters, that make this a promising debut.

-Kirkus Review