Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Call by Yannick Murphy

The Call: A Novel

The Call by Yannick Murphy

The blurb:
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 novel written in a unique format.   There is no dialogue, no transitions, and all the action and thought is told from the point of view of the veterinarian and father,  David.

Each entry is divided into parts that reflect David's day:  Call, Action, Result, and Thoughts on Drive Home, What children said to me when I got home, What my wife said to me when I got home, What my wife cooked for dinner, What I ate for dinner,  and similar descriptions.

Here's an entry from the first part of the book that gives us a sense of David, his family, and their collective sense of humor.

CALL: Old woman with minis needs bute paste.
ACTION: Drove to old woman's house, delivered bute paste. Pet minis.  Learned their names - Molly, Netty, Sunny, and Storm.
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 potatatoes, no salad. She said, David, our salad days are over, it now being autumn and the garden bare except for wind-tossed fallen leaves.

Murphy uses this unusual format to successfully deliver a story about David and his family.  When his young son is gravely injured in a hunting accident, David becomes obsessed with finding the mysterious shooter. The community is small enough that he suspects his clients know who was involved.  David struggles to maintain a balance that allows him to live and work among his neighbors and still find justice for his son.  Through these unusual entries I started to get to know David and his family, sympathized with them, wanted to shake them into action but also came to admire their gentleness.  In The Call, Yannick Murphy takes an unusual format and delivers a moving story.

ISBN-10: 0062023144 - Paperback $14.99
Publisher: Harper Perennial; Original edition (August 2, 2011), 240 pages.
Review copy provided by the publisher.

About the Author:
Yannick Murphy is the author of the novels Signed, Mata Hari, Here They Come, and The Sea of Trees, as well as two story collections and several children's books.  She is the recipient of a Whiting Writer's Award, a National Endowment for the Arts Award and a Chesterfield Screenwriting Award.  She lives in Vermont with her veterinarian husband and their children.

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