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The Call: A Novel Kindle Edition

3.8 out of 5 stars 109 customer reviews

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Length: 247 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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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: 627 KB
  • Print Length: 247 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial (August 2, 2011)
  • Publication Date: August 2, 2011
  • Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #301,636 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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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.
3 Comments 15 of 18 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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