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A Country Doctor's Notebook (Vintage Classics) Paperback – 7 Jan 2010

4.6 out of 5 stars 38 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Classics (7 Jan. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099529564
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099529569
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 0.9 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 51,861 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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)

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

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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Format: Paperback
I had already read and loved The Master and Margarita when I first saw this book. I was stood in a second hand book shop in Stratford upon Avon and I read 2 pages of this book, utterly captivated I wanted to buy it but had no cash so reluctantly put it back. When I finally got hold of it I was once again charmed by Bulgakov's work. I've since read his other readily available works and I have to say this book, with it's insight into early 19th century rural Russia is one of the man's best. Buy this, you won't regret it.
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WHAT a wonderful read this is, and to think I was prepared to be underwhelmed after his Master And Margarita!
Most of it concerns his days as a doctor, obviously, and managed to make me laugh out loud while being sickened by the surgical descriptions. The last couple of tales are a liitle darker and grimmer (an amazing description of drug addiction, and a murder), but beautifully written. I can only imagine how good this stuff is in the original language, as it is sensational in translation.
Having been addicted to Tolstoy and Dostoevsky, I am so glad I gave other Russian writers a chance at last. Both Vasily Grossman and Mikhail Bulgakov have knocked me sideways with their extraordinary writing. I'm starting to wonder if anyone outside of Russia or Ukraine can even come close to the writing that has come out of that part of the world. Seriously, buy it now, and buy everything by both of them!
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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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