Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Call: A Novel by Yannick Murphy

The Call: A NovelThe Call: A Novel by Yannick Murphy

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Goodreads: The daily rhythm of a veterinarian’s family in rural New England is shaken when a hunting accident leaves their eldest son in a coma. With the lives of his loved ones unhinged, the veterinarian struggles to maintain stability while searching for the man responsible. But in the midst of their great trial an unexpected visitor arrives, requesting a favor that will have profound consequences—testing a loving father’s patience, humor, and resolve and forcing husband and wife to come to terms with what “family” truly means.

The Call is a gift from one of the most talented and extraordinary voices in contemporary fiction—a unique and heartfelt portrait of a family, poignant and rich in humor and imagination.

My take: How does an author come up with this? This is an elegant story about family, relationships, love and forgiveness dressed up as a simple story written creatively, seemingly randomly then suddenly it comes together. Except that spaceship which I never quite resolved.

It's a short book about a country veterinarian and what he might write in his daily log.

Call: A cow with her dead calf half-born.
Action: Put on boots and pulled dead calf out while standing in a field full of mud.
Result: Hind legs tore off from dead calf while I pulled. Head, forelegs, and torso are still inside mother.
Thoughts on drive home while passing red and gold leaves on Maple trees: Is there a nicer place to live?
What the children said to me when I got home: Hi, Pop.
What the wife cooked for dinner: Something mixed up.

And somehow a story emerges from this log. Conflict, resolution, humor, imagination and real story that touches the reader is told. Animal owners are nothing short of hilarious and sad and lonely and sweet. Naturally, my favorites were Dorothy and Alice. One was an old woman and the other was her housebroken sheep she took with her everywhere including church. I'd love to tell you which is which but they are indistinguishable.

Very well written.

Violence: Quite a bit as he is a veterinarian who delivers dead calves.
Swearing: Moderate. "f" words pop up frequently
Dialogue: Mature
Sex: Mild/Moderate within marriage and later the Newfoundlands seem to forget public behavior.

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