By James Rouman
A Modern Greek Tragedy
Kirkus Discoveries review: " A glimpse at the lives of Greek immigrants in middle America . . . intimate--and interesting--sections of the novel are the descriptions of anesthesiology. 'We have a connection to our patients no other doctors have . . . when they're asleep there's a constant dialogue going on between us . . . only the linguistics are different. Our patients talk to us continuously under anesthesia through their blood pressure, heart rate, EKG pattern, eye signs, skin color, body temperature . . . sending us messages that we have to learn to interpret and respond to. It's almost a spiritual thing that's hard to explain.'"
When Dr. Leo Sarris successfully resuscitates a moribund newborn during a
routine delivery at Hamilton General Hospital, he can not possibly know how
his world will be torn apart by the boy whose life he saves.
Blending elements of drama and romance, James Rouman has written in
Underwater Dreams a fast-paced and engaging novel. The story opens by
introducing Lula, raised in a small village in Greece until given in marriage
by her widowed mother to a near stranger, who takes her back to his home in
Wisconsin. Framed by the birth and death of Lula, the story unfolds with the
introduction of a diverse list of characters, including her son, Leo, and
Martha Ravitch, with whom he lives and who is unable to have children of her
In the novel the reader accompanies the immigrant couple on their
journey to America, to life in a small Midwestern town and finally to the
hospital world. Issues of adoption, single parenthood, drug addiction,
medical education and elder-care are woven into a story, which can best be
described as a Modern Greek Tragedy.
About the Author
James Rouman was born in Tomahawk, Wisconsin and attended public schools
before enlisting in the navy during World War II. After receiving
undergraduate and medical degrees from Northwestern University, he became an
anesthesiologist and practiced at a major urban tertiary-care center, where he
was a committed teacher of medical students and physicians entering the field
of anesthesiology. Long involved in the professional affairs of his
specialty, the author is now retired and lives in Hartford, Connecticut.
Underwater Dreams is his first novel.
A moving account of a Greek girl's passage from village life in the
Peloponnesus, to marriage and family in northern Wisconsin. A perceptive look
into a close knit Greek immigrant family's rise in America, focusing on their
middle son's life and unique experience as an anesthesiologist. Pride and solidarity of family are central to the novel, sometimes at jarring odds with the surrounding American scene. There are unexpected twists
to the story, and its startling ending catches one unawares.
-- Melvin Bobick, Ph.D. Professor Emeritus of Sociology, University of New
James Rouman, in the tradition of celebrated physician authors, shares a
marvelous story of the triumphs and tragedies of two generations of a Greek
immigrant family as it pursues the American Dream. By creating a densely rich
tapestry, the author transports one from early twentieth century Greece,
through Europe and on to the desolation of Northern Wisconsin. Elements of
hope and sadness merge to create an ending the reader will long remember.
-- Paul Barash, M.D. Attending Anesthesiologist, Yale New Haven
Underwater Dreams Review Sheet
Visit the author's Website
Also by James Rouman: Uncertain Journey -- a 2011 title.
$18.00 Hardcover, 978-1-931807-42-5 2006 • 152 pp. 6 x 9". Available from UPNE.