The Call
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

The Call

3.65 of 5 stars 3.65  ·  rating details  ·  1,562 ratings  ·  387 reviews
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 his great trial an unexpected visitor arrives, requesting a favor that will have profoun...more
Audio CD
Published March 12th 2012 by Tantor Media (first published 2011)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
What the book is about: A veterinarian in Vermont and the telephone calls he receives, mostly from neighbors in his small town, seeking treatment for their large animals, usually horses, sheep and cows.

What the book is really about: Family, a father's boundless love, ordinary love, poor cooking, compassion, olives, hunting, survival, humor.

What I think about the book: I liked it.

What I really think about the book: It was amazing! The format was so very different from anything I have ever read b...more
WHAT HAPPENS IN THE STORY: Animal doctor stuff, human doctor stuff, family stuff, father-son stuff, hunting and swimming, and the occasional possible spaceship sighting.
WHAT I COULDN'T DECIDE WHILE READING IT: If the unusual format was helping or hurting the story.
WHAT I SAW COMING A MILE AWAY: There's a reveal in the novel that I guessed at way early on, so I didn't really feel the emotion of it that I might have had it been more...more
At first the format of this book seems off-putting, but then you find yourself flowing right along with the author, his family, his medical practice as a veterinarian. A hunting accident leaves his son in a coma, and then he has to make a decision that could affect his compromised health even more. Filled with odd New England neighbors, this book is a little gem.
Tony Perez (Editor, TH Books): If you just flipped through Yannick Murphey’s The Call, it’d be easy to believe it is, at best, some interesting structural experiment (or at worst, some cheap gimmick). The book is formatted as the field notes of a rural veterinarian:

CALL: A cow with her dead calf half-born.

ACTION: Put on boots and pulled dead calf out while standing in a field full of mud.

RESULT: Hind legs tore off from dead calf while I pulled. Head, forelegs, and torso are still inside the m...more
The Book:
supposedly profound but trivialized by structural gimmick. Supposedly has grand prose but structural gimmick turns everything into a sound-bite.

Action: Decided to read it on a trans-pacific plane flight.

What I Said to the Wife after the First 10 Pages: This has an interesting opening structure. I wonder how far this will continue. It is hard to see it lasting more than a chapter.

What I Said to the Wife at Page 20: Well, the opening structure seems to be with me for the duration and it...more
This is my year to get out of my "reading only mysteries" rut and get back to reading literature. I reserved this through our library. I'm sure I read a review somewhere along the way. It's a short book - only 223 pages. It's chock full of daily banality and wonder at the same time. We meet a (mostly) large animal veterinarian in Vermont who describes his calls. One of his clients is a sheep who is a family pet and lives in the house. Then there's the farmer who keeps his cows in a warm basement...more
Hmm. I basically felt like I was reading one long report, the kind that doctors carry around on their clipboards and consult before asking you a medical question, comprised mainly of Twitter-length entries.

I'm not sure what to make of it, because while I feel like the format of the novel is certainly intriguing and unconventional and somehow fitting with the story, it was also the format that impeded me from getting invested, as if (to reference another fictional doctor) I was sitting in House's...more
Actually I could not finish this book - too disjointed and really unpleasant. CAN NOT recommend to anyone... would give it zero stars if possible
Looking back, I can't believe I read this in October. Must have been the last book I got through before the season got me.

But I remember I liked it very much. I liked it's odd format--a call log of problems the veternarian needs to solve, and his thoughts and responses to those problems. I was reading slowly and at odd moments in those days of October, and I remember thinking that this was the perfect format for a flaky frame of mind. I liked hearing a man of science, a husband, and a father men...more
Lisa Christen
This was an interesting read. In a style that I am not really accustomed to. Here is an example:

CALL: Old woman with minis needs bute paste.
ACTION: Drove to old woman's house....
RESULT: Minis are really cute.
THOUGHTS ON DRIVE HOME: Must bring children back here sometime to see the cute minis.
WHAT THE WIFE COOKED FOR DINNER: Steak and potatoes, no salad.

This is the style of this book. And to me it seemed as if it was delivered in a monotone voice...more
A rural New England vet goes through each day taking calls, eating dinner, and hanging out with his kids. It's recorded in matter-of-fact style with little emotion.

The structure was fascinating at first, and the laconic, monotone voice of the narrator was amusing. Wow, fresh and fun, I thought.

Then, I kept reading and the freshness turned rancid. By the end I was looking to throttle someone each time I crossed yet another instance of the words "levels" or "spaceship." And the "visitor" that sh...more
The layout of this novel was just awful, original sure, readable - not so much, not for me anyway. It is set out like excerpts from the protagonists diary, there are musings, rantings and observations. The title comes from his profession, he is a vet and he gets call outs to jobs, so each stanza I guess starts with The Call - even if there isn't a call. It took me a monumental amount of time, given its size, to read this book. I kept reading to see what his levels were and what spaceman he was a...more
Mar 12, 2012 Mrs. rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: animal science students who don't mind a challenging read
The format of this book made me CRAZY. It felt like a gimmick. If you want to write a novel about family and vet medicine and animals and love, write one. There's no need to add in all the gimmick - y lack of dialogue punctuation and WHAT I THOUGHT:/ WHAT THE WIFE SAID:, etc. It set off the English teacher in me. That being said, I really enjoyed the science and technical descriptions of the vet's calls. It was the only part of the book I did actually enjoy. I kept thinking, this is what my stud...more
I originally bought this book on the recommendation of the Indie List, which is my bible for good books to read. I read about 30 pages and realized I was starting to skim because it was not reaching me. Then I read a number of outstanding reviews of the book and decided to start over and really engage. After the first 60 pages, I gave up. I think it was in part the approach - set up more like a shorthand journal than a narrative, the difficulty in seeing the other characters as whole - I did ski...more
Andrew Neal
CALL: I wanted something to read.
ACTION: Went to library, found book with cow on the cover. Checked it out.
RESULT: Enjoyed fantastic story which perfectly expressed sorrow, grief, frustration, and love through the lens of a country vetrinarian's ever more unplausible journal entries. Laughed out loud many times.
WHAT THE WIFE SAID: What are you reading?
WHAT I SAID: It's about a vet. You'll love it. It'll make you cry.
Jenny S
There was so much to think about in this book that I really wanted to like it. However, putting the story in the format of veterinarian's field notes just did not work for me. The format seemed to trivialize or diminish the importance of what was happening to this man and his family. Also, the whole spaceship thread seemed unrelated to the rest of the story. I didn't see how it fit in.
Don't waste your time! I really did not like this book. The repetitiveness and style was staccato-like and not pleasant to read. Some scenes are very predictable and others come from left field. And the spaceship is never explained. I've tried reading others' reviews to see what I may be ignorant about. Maybe I missed something?
Mary Jane
Mar 30, 2014 Mary Jane rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Melody Clark
Recommended to Mary Jane by: Teresa Kimley
I had a hard time getting through this one even though it was only 200+ pages. It was an unusual style of writing, of which I tired about half way through the book. It was worth finishing, although I was anxious to finish so I could start another book.
Kent Woodger
It's written in a format that is difficult to read and enjoy. I tried but put it down.
Horrible! Ugh. I hated the format. Storyline was just okay.
Deborah Gray
When selecting a star rating I sometimes find myself hesitating over the button. Is this an "amazing" or "really liked it" book? Would I think it was amazing if it was a debut novel? Probably. In certain genres, some books of equal quality and appeal rate a little differently for me. Suffice it to say this is a beautiful book and I was captivated by it.

Initial Reaction: I'm not going to like this format.
Actual Response: I loved it.

I quickly became used to what in theory seemed off-putting, this...more
I find myself wondering if this book really was amazing, or did I just really like it... I finally chose amazing because the writing format was new and original (although at first I wasn't sure if I could read the entire book and enjoy it), I loved the characters, I loved the cycle of life depicted throughout, I loved the "real" thinking and the overcoming and eventual forgiveness. This quirky family, especially the dad will remain with me for a long time. This book is a quiet little gem! Loved...more

With a sigh, I picked up this selection for one of my reading groups and was glad to see it was short. "The daily rhythm of a veterinarian's family in rural New England" would not be something I chose to read about.

Then I read the first page and sighed more deeply. It is written as a sort of log of the vet's day: what he was called for, how it went (gruesome), and some comments on the family. I thought it might take a couple bottles of wine to get me through.

Luckily, happily, and admiringly, I h...more
The Call is an elegantly simple (or simply elegant) little novel. The simple arises out of the structure the author uses to tell her story. Each journal like entry begins with the Call, followed by the Action, the Result, What the kids said when I got home, What my wife cooked for dinner, etc. The elegant develops as each journal entry deepens the characters and the story until you feel like you live in the cozy, creaking house with them.

David Appleton is a large animal vet in rural New England....more
Charming, delightful, unique. A lovely story of a New England veterinarian and his wife and three children, this is not a James Heriot wanna-be, which is a good thing. I loved James Heriot's books, so I was really impressed that this book revisited the same type of subject in a completely different manner and was really good on its own merit. I think this is a brave and brilliant thing to do. Can you imagine going to a publisher and saying you want to write a book about a country vet and his vis...more
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 WH...more
What a wonderful book! I loved the quirky styleformat. At first everything seemed pretty mundane and boring, but if you paid close attention there were amazing things happening and profound lessons being learned. Such is true with life in general, you really need to pay attention!
4 1/2 stars. While reading this book I got the impression that it must have been written on a dare. Like if someone dared you to use the words "persnickety lemur" in a graduation speech, there were so may random things in this book I thought it must be dare based. Miniature donkeys, spaceships, a rabbit in diapers! The format is also very unique, presented in a sort of abrupt journal style. It is a very weird, wonderful book. And when it comes right down to it, weird books are pretty much my fav...more
Tiffany Hickox
The Call by Yannick Murphy is narrated by a rural vet whose son has been precariously shot by an unknown hunter. As the boy lies in a coma, the man makes his calls and realizes it is most likely that, in his rural home of 600 or so people, his customers know who shot his son, causing him to become obsessed with uncovering the identity of the mystery hunter. All the while, he and his family continously sight an unidentified flying object, which becomes a beacon of hope during their time of crisis...more
Pam Chaffin
Very interesting novel! The creative use of telling the story through the main character's (a rural veterinarian who treats big animals/small animals), field journal, or log book, gives the story an additional enjoyable twist. The field journal does list/explain the calls and treatments, plus the animal's responses to treatments, but also woven throughout the journal is the story of the vet, his wife, their three children, and two dog's lives, as well as all the twists and turns that their lives...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Everything Happens Today
  • Someday This Will Be Funny
  • Luminarium
  • Orientation: And Other Stories
  • Fathermucker
  • We Others: New and Selected Stories
  • Changó's Beads and Two-Tone Shoes
  • I Married You for Happiness
  • Jewelweed
  • The Hottest Dishes of the Tartar Cuisine
  • Volt
  • The Correspondence Artist
  • Leche
  • Ladies and Gentlemen
  • Kings of Colorado
  • The Sleepy Hollow Family Almanac
  • The Tragedy of Arthur
  • You Were Wrong
Yannick Murphy is the author of the novels, THE CALL, SIGNED, MATA HARI, HERE THEY COME, and THE SEA OF TREES. Her story collections include STORIES IN ANOTHER LANGUAGE and IN A BEAR'S EYE. Her children's books include THE COLD WATER WITCH, BABY POLAR, and AHWOOOOOOOO!. She is the recipient of various awards including a Whiting Writer's Award, a National Endowment for the Arts award, a Chesterfiel...more
More about Yannick Murphy...
Here They Come Signed, Mata Hari Baby Polar In a Bear's Eye The Sea of Trees

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »

“THOUGHTS ON RIDE HOME: If my levels get too high, if they talk too much, then put me out of my misery and burn me on a pyre, that’s how I want to go. Don’t bother with a backhoe to try and dig the hole. Take down the trees to build the pyre off our land. Let the Newfoundlands have my bones. Let them walk the property drooling with my femur between their massive jaws. I am renewable energy.” 0 likes
More quotes…