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the Call
Yannick Murphy
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the Call

3.65  ·  Rating details ·  2,240 Ratings  ·  461 Reviews
The warm, wry, and patient voice of a veterinarian father tells the heartfelt story of his young New England family enduring a moving trial of loyalty, hope, and faith after they are confronted with an unthinkable crisis.
Paperback, 223 pages
Published 2011 by Harper Perennial
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Nov 24, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebooks, 2011-reads, cpl
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
Feb 26, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 25, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Andrew Neal
Feb 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jan 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-we-love
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
Sep 15, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read this a second time and I felt the same exact way. Why did I read it a second time? Life is too short - too many books!

First read: 19 September 2011

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.
Jun 20, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 28, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found Murphy’s unique literary structure to be easily read and entertaining. This is a wonderful “feel-good” novel that left me smiling. “The Call” is about a young Veterinarian in a rural area in New England. His practice consists mostly of house(farm) calls. His structure is based upon the calls he receives during the day. Murphy makes the veterinarian life seem mostly entertaining, with the sad cases peppered in.

The protagonist, David Appleton, is the father of three children, and husband
Jan 27, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
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
Jun 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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!
Jun 04, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Actually I could not finish this book - too disjointed and really unpleasant. CAN NOT recommend to anyone... would give it zero stars if possible
Sep 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 30, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 12, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
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
Audacia Ray
Wow. One of the best books I've read this year. Told in the first person, the book is the story of a large animal vet in the northeast. We go with him on his calls and get a peek into the relationships between people and animals, plus his relationship with his wife and three kids. That sounds half boring when I write it, but it so isn't. The characters are all so well written. I cried at least twice while reading the book, and that's pretty unusual for me.

I initially thought I'd tire of the fo
Sep 25, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Alyssa  Gibbs
Dec 04, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  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
Dec 15, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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?
Jenny S
Aug 12, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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.
Mary Jane
Nov 02, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  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
Oct 19, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
It's written in a format that is difficult to read and enjoy. I tried but put it down.
Apr 14, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Horrible! Ugh. I hated the format. Storyline was just okay.
Nov 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm so glad I read this. It's about life, family, love, loss, people, and moral dilemmas, and it's told as if we were reading the mental diary of a man who is a father, husband, friend and rural veterinarian. I think my favorite categories were "What the Wife Cooked for Dinner" and "What I did Not Have for Dinner." Highly recommended.
Marylou Najera
Aug 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Such a lovely and heartfelt novel, but never sappy or heaven forbid, maudlin.
So... "human," is all I can think of at the moment. The characters are so genuine and the dialogue is so real, it could have come out of my own home, and from my own children and family.

I can't wait to read more of Ms. Murphy's stuff, that's how impressed I was by this honest and cleverly done work.
Leslie Kay
Nov 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Deborah Gray
Nov 03, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 02, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
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.

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
Dec 28, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Madison Mega-Mara...: The Call, by Yannick Murphy 1 3 Apr 27, 2013 11:59AM  
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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 Ahwhoooooooo!. She is the recipient of various awards including a Whiting Writer's Award, a National Endowment for the Arts award, a Chesterfie ...more
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“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.” 1 likes
“I am happy to see him on the couch, his huge feet on the arm, dirtying the cloth. I am happy to hear him stomping upstairs across the floorboards and whipping towels at his sisters after he has showered. I am happy to hear him screaming for no reason, bounding down the stairs, reaching the bottom and wildly petting Nelly, shaking her head back and forth, and calling her a good girl. I think how it doesn’t matter who shot my son. My son is back.” 0 likes
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