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If Only They Could Talk: The classic memoirs of a 1930s vet [Unabridged] [Paperback]

James Herriot
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
RRP: £8.99
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Book Description

4 Jun 2010

Fresh out of Veterinary College, and shoulder-deep in an uncooperative cow, James Herriot’s first job is not panning out exactly as expected . . .

To a Glaswegian like James, 1930s Yorkshire appears to offer an idyllic pocket of rural life in a rapidly changing world. But even life in the sleepy village of Darrowby has its challenges. On the one hand there are his new colleagues, Siegfried and Tristan Farnon, two brothers who attract a constant stream of local girls to whom James is strangely invisible. On the other he must contend with herds of semi-feral cattle, gruff farmers with incomprehensible accents and an overweight Pekingese called Tricki Woo…

Heartbreaking and hilarious in equal measure, If Only They Could Talk is a book for all those who find laughter and joy in animals, and who know and understand the magic and beauty of Britain’s wild places.

'Bulls with sunstroke, pigs on the run and a cake-eating Peke with a betting habit . . . I grew up reading James Herriot's book and I'm delighted that thirty years on they are still every bit as charming, heartwarming and laugh-out-loud funny as they were then' Kate Humble

'It’s a pleasure to be in James Herriot’s company’ Observer

‘After an evening among his tales, anyone with as much as a dog or a budgerigar will feel he should move to Darrowby at once’ Yorkshire Post


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Frequently Bought Together

If Only They Could Talk: The classic memoirs of a 1930s vet + It Shouldn't Happen to a Vet: The further adventures of a 1930s vet + Let Sleeping Vets Lie
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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Pan; Unabridged edition (4 Jun 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0330518151
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330518154
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 232,725 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

JAMES HERRIOT grew up in Glasgow and qualified as a veterinary surgeon at Glasgow Veterinary College. Shortly afterwards, he took up a position as an assistant in a North Yorkshire practice where he remained, with the exception of his wartime service in the RAF, until his death in 1995.

Product Description

Review

'Reissued first book of the series that took the country by storm in the Seventies...From grump farmers to difficult cattle and animals with sunstroke he cheerfully recalls his crucial role in rural life during the Thirties.'
--Daily Express

'If, like me, you thought Herriot's books were `telly-your-parents-watch', think again. Light tone, generous humour, and dry commentary on life as it was, animals and their people as they always are - this is easy reading with bursts of raw comedy and real pathos.' --Waitrose magazine

`It's easy to understand their appeal, a mixture of nostalgia, love for animals and the countryside, wonderful characters and, above all, fine story-telling.' --9780330518154

'This hilarious book is the first in a series of eight... Whether he's wrestling a raging bull, administering a difficult calving or treating a lame horse, there's always the "blessed relief" of small animal work and the sanctuary of Mrs Pumphrey's drawing room with its deep armchair, bottle of sherry and her much-indulged Pekingese, Tricky Woo.' --Country Living

About the Author

James Herriot grew up in Glasgow and qualified as a veterinary surgeon at Glasgow Veterinary College. Shortly afterwards, he took up a position as an assistant in a North Yorkshire practice where he remained, with the exception of his wartime service in the RAF, until his death in 1995.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant tales from a different time 21 Nov 2013
By Bridgey
Format:Paperback
I can remember watching the series on TV as a child, so when I came across this book I thought I would give it a try and see if the James Herriot in the book was any different to the one I fondly remembered.

I needn't have had any fears, from the first chapter I was hooked. It is one of those rare books that I found extremely difficult to put down and finished in two sittings.

The books is written in the first person as Herriot recalls many tales, some sad and some so humorous that you will have strange looks as you sit there chuckling out loud. At the beginning of the novel we find Herriot fresh out of veterinary college and on his way for a job interview with Siegfried Farnham. After a somewhat unusual introduction he is offered the job and accepts.

The story takes you back in time to when life although being a lot harder, was also a lot simpler. We meet many colourful characters (in particular Tricky Woo, the spoilt and very rich dog). The descriptive language used is second to none and it is not hard to imagine yourself rising at 3am with Herriot in order to help a cow in labour.

Possibly one of my favourite books ever. I have just ordered the complete collection.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars lovely! 6 Jan 2011
Format:Paperback
I'd forgotten how much fun these books are! great, evocative portraits of yesteryear. great characters, real relish in the writing and descriptions, sigfriend and his brother are hilarious. One word of warning though if you are squeamish - the books are more graphic than I'd remembered - the vet details of what happens to the animals, their insides etc is a bit eye-watering at times!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I bought this book after watching old episodes of "All Creatures Great and Small" on the Yesterday channel The television series is just terrific, bringing the characters in the books to life with such excellent acting. Often television and cinema cannot live up to the written word, but this is certainly one exception. And the books themselves? Well, if "If They Could Talk" is anything to go by, these books are just beautifully written, full of the most wonderful country characters, rich with humour, invoking the atmosphere of those post war years. This will definitely not be the last James Herriot book I will buy. (The Kindle version is free of the usual typos which you often see, especially in the free books which I avoid like the plague these days).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read for people of all ages 22 July 2013
By David
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A wonderfully gentle, humorous and entertaining rural drama. It gives a detailed insight into the hard life of a country vet in pre-war England and the author’s love of animals and of the countryside shines through irresistibly. It is wonderfully nostalgic too, reflecting a gentler era though life itself was much harsher. Truly a great read for people of all ages.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely Herriot stories 28 Feb 2012
By Sherrie
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I first bought this book back in the 70s when it was first published but that copy got lost along the way with house moves etc. When I saw it on Amazon I just had to buy it. Great stories told with a wonderful insight and sense of humour.reviewed by Sherrie Lowe, author of Song of the Phoenix
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Exactly what it says on the tin - an entertaining insight into the life of a rural vet. Like the Herriot books, it is well written with a colourful description of the events portrayed. You are left in no doubt about how hard a rural vet needs to work in order to maintain his client base.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Talk about giggle 13 Sep 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I recently read all of this book to find it enjoyable in so many repects, we'd recently watched the series again and enjoyed thinking oh yeah we read that in the book, It has highs and lows and giggles a many most enjoyable read if your new to James herriot.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If only they could talk 26 Dec 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I first read the James Herriot stories as a child and really enjoyed them. So when I wanted an easy but fun read I came back to these lovely books.
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