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The Call: A Novel [Kindle Edition]

Yannick Murphy
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (104 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $14.99
Kindle Price: $10.99
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Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers
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Book Description

“Yannick Murphy, while being one of our most daring andoriginal writers, is first and foremost an exquisitely attuned observer ofhuman behavior. . . . Murphy’s work provides pretty much unexceededreading pleasure.” —Dave Eggers

Thewarm, wry, and patient voice of a veterinarian father tells the heartfelt storyof his young New England family enduring a moving trial of loyalty, hope, andfaith after they are confronted with an unthinkable crisis. Acclaimed author Yannick Murphy’s intimate narrative style and lovely prosewill enthrall readers of Rivka Galchen,Padgett Powell, and Murphy’s own Signed, Mata Hari.The Call is a “triumph of quiet humorand understated beauty” (Publishers Weekly, starred review) from anauthor that the New York Times Book Review calls “an extraordinarilygifted fabulist.”

Editorial Reviews


“Yannick Murphy’s beautiful new novel is a stirring example of what a real writer can do with form and feeling. The Call is sly, funny, scary, honest, wonderstruck and, most of all, intensely generous.”

From the Back Cover

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.

Product Details

  • File Size: 368 KB
  • Print Length: 247 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial (August 2, 2011)
  • Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #46,206 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
66 of 73 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The heart of a family August 25, 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The Call called me, only faintly at first with its terse log-like entries. So this is going to be a book about a country vet who delivers goats, sews up a horse that listens to classical music, and relates to a zebra? It is. And more.
I've been inside the head of David Appleton and the heart of the Appleton family. A heart that holds lots of love and laughter, but is also pulled, twisted, and strained. Murphy knows about families and knows how to tell their stories--very well. Despite its unusual abrupt style, she brings the Appleton family fully to life, not only David and Jen, but the three children. Nights are cold; snow falls. Parents bicker. Children come out with the unexpected. Family dinners are so delicious, that I flipped to the back vainly hoping for recipes. Ah, the pork chops! Oh, the gypsy soup. Outside of the household, Murphy has captured many of the small town's 600 quirky residents in brief but colorful sketches. She has an eye; she has an ear; she has a true voice.
I quickly answered the call of the book and sank into full-time reading. Then, the tragic accident that almost rends the family took me with a jolt. It mirrored a decades old episode in my own family's journey so closely and clearly, that I almost shut the book, but I persevered. Glad I am and I can testify that account of the Appletons' suffering is pinpoint accurate.
A fine book. How fine? I immediately ordered one of Murphy's children's books for my five-year-old granddaughter. Now I'm off to make gypsy soup.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars About family -- human and animal, chosen and accidental September 2, 2011
By Mimijo
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Only 2 customer reviews for this fine book? Shame!

Related in deceptively straightforward but poetically resonant journal entries by large-animal vet David Appleton, the novel is about the bonds that grapple families together in joy, humor, sorrow and sacrifice, and how similar bonds also bind people to the animals who share their lives. Appleton, happily married, the doting father of 3, is going along at midlife on his daily rounds among the farms of his small Vermont town, while trying to ignore elevated "levels" signifying possible trouble with his prostate. His routine of treating colicky horses and delivering calves and putting down sick and old creatures is shattered when a hunting accident wounds his 12-year-old son and puts him into a coma.

Spoiler alert... Even after the boy recovers David is obsessed with the mystery of the identity of the unseen gunman who fired the errant shot that knocked Sam out of his 12-foot-high deer blind. But it turns out that a greater mystery than that is about to enter David's life, testing just how deep his loyalty to family runs.

Sweet-natured, quirky, humorous, the book is a quiet triumph, taking us into the intimate heart of a spirited marriage and showing the joy and heartbreak of sharing the raising of children. The author, a woman, has done a fine job of entering into a masculine persona -- David is a completely credible character and Murphy's unconventional narrative method of relating the story through his journal entries gave me the rare experience of inhabiting someone else's consciousness. I found David Appleton's consciousness an interesting and congenial place to be.
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Takes Your Breath Away September 3, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The Call captured me from the beginning; cast in the form of veterinarian "calls" with ACTIONS, RESULTS, it at first is charmingly funny. David Appleton is quirky, to say the least. He wonders about the lights in the sky, and considers them a spaceship (as does the whole family). Can they get away from their rural life? The story is really about how they all come to love and appreciate what they have. Much of it is just funny, and as the entries in the log book expand to WHAT THE WIFE SAID to WHAT I SAID TO THE SPACEMAN DRIVING HOME, I was completely drawn in. Sometimes David seems clueless, and even then Murphy manages sharp little observations about how we live, as when David's wife tells him that Panko bread crumbs aren't the same as regular bread crumbs: "How could a thing like bread crumbs go from being simple to complex?" The writing is deceptively simple, plain even, but every word rings true. One of my favorite novels of the year.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Unique format sucks out the emotion February 2, 2012
By sas
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I agree with other reviewers that the format takes some getting used to but I disagree with the consensus that it works. I think it neutralizes the emotion in this novel, it IS too "clinical", despite the fact that some of the writing, especially describing seasons, nature, inner thoughts, is quite lovely. I DO like the narrator, the vet - he suffers from self doubt, powerful inner desires and strong sentiments but these traits aren't conveyed very well through this writing style. The major conflicts our protagonist has to deal with - the unfortunate event with his son and outcome thereof, the "cerebral" hunt for the culprit and the arrival of - SPOILER - someone from his past would be cataclysmic for anyone, but the resolution of these events seems strangely flat. Life just goes on. I know that's what it's meant to do, but normally, we go through our insides being turned out first before we allow acceptance, and I didn't find that here. The other point I would bring up is that it's awfully difficult to read about animals suffering and doubly difficult when euthanasia is the solution [described in detail] or discussed as the solution. This, too, is presented matter-of-fact when perhaps the introduction of an emotional element would have helped the reader deal with the inevitable distress associated with an animal's misery and death.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Good story but I don't like the writing style .
Published 3 months ago by cynthia lessard
3.0 out of 5 stars Time
Time can heal things. Glad for a man who loves his children and community. This book was very descriptive and well written.
Published 4 months ago by Kathryn Stathis
2.0 out of 5 stars reads like notes for a book
did not hold my interest - felt like reading notes for a book that hadn't been written yet
Published 5 months ago by Chowder Head
2.0 out of 5 stars Two Stars
I was disappointed in the book.
Published 5 months ago by Betty
5.0 out of 5 stars The poor man is in and out of barns and fields
The style is distracting at first. It's written in a herky-jerky not quite journalistic manner than came to seem appropriate for the life of the veterinarian it portrays. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Happy Hill
1.0 out of 5 stars One Star
The style was well written however the plot lacked fleshing out characters
Published 6 months ago by Elizabeth Mathew
4.0 out of 5 stars intriguing
Took me a while to get into the literary device, but the novel offers good insight into families and human nature.
Published 7 months ago by Amelia Brailsford
4.0 out of 5 stars Unusual! I loved it.
The form is unusual. The story draws you in immediately, then other plot lines are introduced. There is some serious story matter here, but a humorous twist takes the sting out of... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Dog Lady
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Published 9 months ago by Richard L Perry
3.0 out of 5 stars Acquired Taste
It's quirky to say the least. I read it on the recommendation of another but I'm not sure if I would take his advice again. I found it long and somewhat repetitive and tedious. Read more
Published 9 months ago by IN8
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