Physical

An American Checkup

James McManus

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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Physical is the story of a hard-living, happily married, middle-aged American (the author) who gets a three-day "executive checkup" at the Mayo Clinic and is thereby forced to confront his mortality, not to mention glove-wearing doctors and the pair of dominatrix-esque technicians who supervise his stress test quite strictly. James McManus must understand his revised actuarial odds in the light of his not-so-long-lived forebears and the fact that his youngest children are only six and five years old. He has to survive his own cardiovascular system, inherited habits, and genetic handicaps long enough to see Bea and Grace into adulthood. But with so much at stake, and in spite of his terror of death, he may not have the willpower to follow the Mayo clinicians' advice.
On a related health front, McManus's twenty-nine-year-old daughter, Bridget, has lived with juvenile diabetes since she was four, and the Bush Administration's opposition to the stem cell research that could save her life makes him feel like he "might have to do something rash." Meanwhile, should he have a vasectomy? Or try for another child, having lost his only son? How much longer will he be able to perform such manly feats without Viagra? Is his grateful wife sleeping with the brilliant ophthalmological surgeon who saved their daughter's vision? Physical negotiates the political and medical forks in the labyrinth of our health care system and calls for sanity and enlightenment in the stem cell research wars. It's a no-holds-barred, wrenching, but often hilarious portrait of the looming mortality of a privileged generation that can't believe the party's winding down, if not over.

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Excerpted from Physical by James McManus. Copyright © 2006 by James McManus. Published in January, 2006 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, LLC. All rights reserved.

THAT’S THAT

I looked away to the hills
Above the river, where the golden lights of sunset

And sunrise are one and the same, and I saw something flying
Back and forth, fluttering its wings. Then it stopped in mid-air,
It was an angel, one of the good ones, about to sing.

—MARK STRAND, Dark Harbor, XLV

I would kiss the diamondback if I knew it would get me to heaven.

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Physical by James McManus--Audiobook Excerpt

Listen to this audiobook excerpt from James McManus' book Physical: An American Checkup. When hard-living, middle-aged American writer James McManus gets a three-day executive checkup at the Mayo Clinic, he is immediately forced to confront his mortality. Will he survive his own cardiovascular system and genetic inheritance long enough to see his young daughters grow up?

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About the Author

James McManus

James McManus, the author of Positively Fifth Street (FSG, 2003) and four novels, including Going to the Sun, is the poker columnist for The New York Times. In 2001 he received the Peter Lisagor Award for sports journalism. A portion of Physical that appeared in Esquire has been anthologized in The Best American Science and Nature Writing, Best American Magazine Writing, and Best American Political Writing. He teaches at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

James McManus

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Available Formats and Book Details

Physical
An American Checkup
James McManus

e-Book Agency

e-Book Agency
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
December 2006
e-Book Agency
ISBN: 9780374706197
ISBN10: 0374706190
272 pages
$7.99

Unabridged Digital Audio

Unabridged  Digital Audio
Macmillan Audio
December 2005
Unabridged Digital Audio
ISBN: 9781593978112
ISBN10: 1593978111
Audio Run Time: 7:30
$14.99

Trade Paperback

Trade Paperback
Picador
December 2006
Trade Paperback
ISBN: 9780312426491
ISBN10: 0312426496
5 1/2 x 8 1/4 inches, 272 pages
$16.00
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Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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