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Life in an E.R. During Covid

Thomas Fisher’s new book, “The Emergency,” details his life as an emergency physician at the University of Chicago Medical Center, where he’s worked for 20 years. It provides an up-close look at a hospital during the pandemic, and also zooms out to address the systemic issues that afflict American health care.

“This book was conceptualized prior to Covid,” Fisher says on this week’s podcast. “But Covid laid bare so much of what I intended to discuss from the beginning. So in some ways it was weirdly fortuitous. It gave the opportunity to discuss many of the details in much more vivid relief because we had this pandemic laying out all the things that have been a problem for so long.”

Thomas Fisher, the author of “The Emergency: A Year of Healing and Heartbreak in a Chicago ER.”Credit…Jeff Sciortino

The critic and essayist Maud Newton’s first book, “Ancestor Trouble,” details her investigations into her family’s fascinating and sometimes discomfiting history, and reflects on our culture’s increased obsession with genealogy.

“Allowing ourselves to really imagine our ancestors, in all of their fullness — the difficult and bad things that they did, and of course the wonderful things that they did — can just be a really transformative experience,” Newton says. “I’ve come to find that the line between imagination and spirituality has become a lot more porous over the course of writing this book.”

Also on this week’s episode, Dwight Garner and Molly Young talk about books they’ve recently reviewed. John Williams is the host.

We would love to hear your thoughts about this episode, and about the Book Review’s podcast in general. You can send them to books@nytimes.com.

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