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4.6 out of 5 stars
12
A Young Doctor's Notebook
Format: Kindle Edition|Change
Price:£3.59


TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 23 December 2012
This compilation of 8 short stories contains the same, but one less, than the Vintage Classic collection 'A Country Doctor's Notebook' by the same author. In the notes at the back, you'll read that they were never intended to be published in one volume, so there is a bit of repetition.

The stories are remarkable. He's newly qualified young doctor and given the enormous responsibility of running an entire hospital, without the assistance of another doctor, together with two nurses and an orderly. The stories are so good, that I've already started to re-read them. I really like his style, each new medical dilemma provokes a shift in his being, I couldn't help but notice there is quite a lot of implied faith in the narrative and so it follows that the notes at the end explain the religious influence on his writing.

I happened to catch the recent Sky Arts screening of the playhouse version, featuring Daniel Radcliffe and Jon Hamm. I only managed to see Episode 1 but was immediately drawn in. I wanted to order the DVD, but its not released until January sometime, so I thought I would read the book instead.

What's really intriguing about the transition from page to screen, is the device of using double narrators, often simultaneously, to discuss the past and the present, as the older doctor remembers his early beginnings. The stories themselves however, are much more straightforward and the two time-frames are dealt with by way of interior monologue.

The other really interesting thing about this book (and its screen version) is the treatment of humour. Humour is very difficult to translate from a different language and I wanted to see firstly how the visceral subjects could be made humorous, and also, who or what was at the expense of the humour?

Without saying too much, because it's a very memorable book, the humour stems mainly from his initial nervous unpreparedness and the self-depracating intellectual grilling he gives himself about the extent of his skill. He is an anxious soul and you can't help but giggle at his insecurity, especially his fretting about what on earth he will do if he's ever presented with a strangulated hernia.

The notes at the back are fascinating. The chapter called Morphine is explained fully in the notes. My favourite chapter, I think, has to be The Steel Throat.
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HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 24 April 2016
Sometimes translated into English with the title of A Country Doctor’s Notebook, don’t make the mistake of buying this if you already have that, as it is the same book

I should point out that this is a series of short stories, and not a novel, so please don’t think that this is a long tale, it is a series of interconnected tales instead. As other books by this author can be allegorical, surreal and fantastical it does come as a pleasure to read these which bring to life the gritty realism of time and place. 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. I should point out that if you are of a nervous disposition then you may not want to read this book, the first story itself describes an amputation, and there are other such scenes throughout.

All in all this is a fascinating book to read in its entirety, it isn't long and is easy to read and will give you a feel for the time Bulgakov was writing about, and what it is like to be a doctor.
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on 9 June 2014
A brilliant read.

Bulgakov is a writer who's name should be mentioned in the same tones as other hallowed Russian greats.

This short collection of stories are perfectly crafted, romp along with a passion and skill and plenty of humour. Not to mention the occasional satirical or even direct swipe at the then-state-of-affairs in Russia.

This translation brings life to the work in a way which others I've picked up have failed to do and is well worth seeking out - it really shouldn't be hard - as some can render the prose flat and cold, robbing it of the vitality that it was a) undoubtedly written with and b) wholeheartedly deserves.
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on 8 January 2013
fast service and good condition, havent read for a while and found this book funny well written reminds me of a doctor style all creatures great and small, very good.
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on 21 September 2014
This book very well show us the doctor's work in russia in the initium of xx century. I really recommend this book and this seller great condition.
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on 2 June 2014
Sorry to confuse or be controversial, but I read this on my kindle and discovered that the story was far to short, hence my disappointment. The book is a reasonably good read.
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on 10 February 2013
I read this after watching the TV adaptation starring Daniel Radcliffe and John Hamm. I found the book actually to be much better than the programme. The feeling of being out of one's depth is very realistically portrayed.
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on 15 April 2013
Arrived in better condition than expected and I am really enjoying the book too. It is a book we selected for our book group and I would recommend it for that.
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on 23 February 2013
The struggle that a young doctor has with the dark Russian winter swirling outside, showing the difficulties and fears that grip all young doctors everywhere.
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on 31 December 2012
Fascinating and very well written. The tribulations and triumphs of an inexperienced doctor. Should be read by all medical graduates.
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