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Country Doctor's Notebook Hardcover – May 1975


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 158 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Distribution Services; 1st Edition edition (May 1975)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0002621037
  • ISBN-13: 978-0002621038
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 107,946 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

"Stories as keen and bright as a scalpel... Courage shines from every angle of this profoundly human collection by the greatest of modern Russian writers" (Sunday Times)

"A marvellous writer" (Michael Frayn)

"The oil lamps of his little provincial hospital seemed to him a lonely beacon which symbolised the battle between light and darkness... These straighforward yet extraordinary sketches gain their strength from also being the account of a young man's growth. One begins to see that he became a novelist not because he had material but because he was storing up passion and temperament" (V.S. Pritchett New Statesman)

"Wryly funny and fascinating" (Sunday Times)

"Blizzards blow, wolves run loose in the forests, the doctor duels with Death, who is never satisfied" (Harpers & Queen) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Book Description

Brilliant stories which show the growth of a novelist's mind, and the raw material which fed the wild surrealism of Bulgakov's later fiction --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

42 of 43 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 14 Jun 2001
Format: Paperback
This part autobiography, part fictional book is a collection of stories from Bulgakov's experiences as a young, inexperienced doctor in pre-revolution rural Russia. As a new graduate, often still mistaken for a younger boy, Bulgakov conveys his neurotic state with a mixture of images and schizophrenic dialogue with himself. It is so difficult to understand the isolation he feels, to imagine being "32 miles from the nearest electric light." and being responsible for the lives of so many people who flood through his doors. A great deal of the narrative takes place during dark nights, howling winds and blizzards. Its purpose is multifarious; it makes the whole setting more dramatic and allows the hospital to be a prick of light surrounded be darkness, a ray of hope for all around. I feel it also intensifies the isolation. The stresses and strains of such a predicament can take their toll on such a green professional can clearly be seen in the tale named "Morphine". I thoroughly enjoyed the book and would firmly recommend it to anyone. I read "A Country Doctor's Notebook" while looking for a book to write an essay on and this was the eventual winner, beating books of all genres - from Banks to Balzac. I can think of no higher praise.
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Mo on 10 Jan 2004
Format: Paperback
I stumbled upon this book by chance when I was browsing the "bargain books" in the one and only English bookstore in Strasbourg. The book is about a young Russian doctor's 1st year as a country doctor in the Northwest part of Russia. It is a collection of many short stories. The writing reflects the author's ability as a play writer - good use of "visual" and "audio" effects such as the description of the weather (which seems to be constantly in a winter blizzard and in the dark) as well as the "tightness" of the writing. The author did not throw out ineffective big words/long sentences to describe the state of mind of the main character in the book, but let the short stories tell the story of the changes which took place inside the young doctor. I could not stop reading until I finished. Advice: do not start reading this book on Sunday evening...
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Maryutka on 26 April 2009
Format: Paperback
This is a fantastic book - a perfect read for anyone interested in Russia. Written by Mikhail Bukgakov, one of Russia's leading writers, it tells a story of a young doctor who is sent to the Russian provinces to practice medicine there.

It's a wonderfully observant account of life in rural Russia complete with almost complete lack of medical knowledge among the locals. Just to give you an example a man complains to his friends, that the young doc isn't that great as he came to see him with throat pain and now he is being hospitalised and has to take loads of medicine and even has to smear onself with a cream everywhere! What he doesn't understand of course is that he has syphilis.

The stories are written from the first person, which makes them even more engaging. And no wonder, Bulgakov, like Chekhov, a doctor himself, had all the nessesary insights into the medical profession in Russia.

A must read!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By M. Dowden HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 4 Dec 2012
Format: Paperback
I must admit that I have only read The Master and Margarita (Vintage Classics) and The Heart Of A Dog (Vintage Classics) by this author before. As this book is to be shown as a series on Sky though I thought I would read this beforehand.

I should point out that this is a series of nine short stories, and not a novel, also it is well worth reading the introduction here. As those books I have previously read by this author are allegorical, surreal and fantastical I was therefore stunned by the gritty realism in these tales. This book is semi-autobiographical in nature, as Bulgakov was himself a doctor and did practice in a place similar to that mentioned herein. The stories ultimately take place between 1916-17 and concern a newly qualified twenty-four year old doctor on his first major posting. Working in what we would call a cottage hospital he finds the place well equipped and stocked, and with running water. Alas though there is no electricity or telephone, and the area can be precarious for travel come the winter.

Why this works so well is because we can understand and sympathise with the young doctor. Having to carry out major medical procedures without guidance, and the worries over whether he has diagnosed and treated symptoms correctly must be a worry for any doctor, especially so when first qualified. With the descriptions of the winter months and travelling we also get a feel for the area and the isolation that the doctor finds.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Gogol VINE VOICE on 14 July 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is Bulgakov's own personal journey as a doctor recently graduated and sent to the countryside to practice. This is something that is still common in a number of developing countries and is used both to even up the social balance of city and country and also to provide medical care to those who otherwise would have to do without.

Bulgakov is dispatched and displays all the idealism of a young doctor mixed with the pessimism's of a man who is being sent far from home and the comforts of the city to a place that may as well be a foreign country.

Bulgakov in his usual quiet way exposes the ignorance of the common people and often the incompetence of his own skill. The stories he retells here are both moving and touching, peasants who when given medicine apply it to their outer clothing rather than the skin, a hospital staff who medical skill leaves a lot to be desired.

Bulgakov is humorous as usual and while providing the reader with a book that judging by the cover may be slow and tedious is in fact fast paced, and will leave the reader laughing at times and in disbelief in others.

A wonderful book that should be read.
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