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A Country Doctor's Notebook by Mikhail…
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A Country Doctor's Notebook

by Mikhail Bulgakov

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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6171726,198 (4.2)57
With the ink still wet on his diploma, the twenty-five-year-old Dr Mikhail Bulgakov was flung into the depths of rural Russia which, in 1916-17, was still largely unaffected by such novelties as the motor car, the telephone or electric light. How his alter-ego copes (or fails to cope) with the new and often appalling responsibilities of a lone doctor in a vast country practice - on the eve of Revolution - is described in Bulgakov's delightful blend of candid realism and imaginative exuberance.… (more)
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» See also 57 mentions

English (13)  French (2)  Swedish (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (17)
Showing 1-5 of 13 (next | show all)
Autobiographical fiction in which Bulgakov recalls his first posting after qualifying as a doctor...to a god-forsaken village, where he is forced to attempt surgical interventions he has never done before, assisted only by a couple of nurses and an orderly. The local people are superstitious and uneducated...his efforts to explain the seriousness of their conditions often disregarded. And in the solitary frozen wastes, some medical staff fall prey to the easily available temptation of morphine. Meanwhile the violent revolutionary activities of 1917start to intrude on the lives of the doctors...
Extremely well-written short stories. ( )
  starbox | Jan 5, 2019 |
I've had an eye out for a copy of this book for a while, and was quite happy to have discovered this lovely UK copy in a used bookstore.

This collection of stories, informed by Bulgakov's own experiences as a young general practitioner in rural Russia in the late 1910s are a long distance from his more satirical and fantastical works. I did know what to expect, as I'd read Morphine as a stand-alone some years ago, and did and did not know what to expect from the British TV series. (Seriously. Bit of the series were spot-on to the stories and other bits I have NO IDEA where they came from.)

While it can be tempting to focus on the gap between technology then and now, it soon pales in comparison to the gap and technology and knowledge between major cities like Moscow and isolated rural areas. The hospital's patients had little concept of the progression or communicability of disease, making treatment of something like syphilis nigh impossible.

Fascinating (if sometimes cringe-inducing) reading. ( )
  greeniezona | Jun 24, 2018 |
In 1916, as Russia was suffering the effects of two years of civil war, medical graduates were assigned to rural areas without the usual hospital internship. As a newly qualified doctor, the twenty-five-year-old Bulgakov found himself the solitary doctor at a remote hospital with erratic mail service, no electricity, transport by sleigh or cart on roads unreliable even in good conditions. He was tortured by his lack of experience and dreaded the possibility of certain conditions such as a strangulated hernia. Despite his worry, he successfully treated most patients, in the worst possible circumstances. His stories, part fiction, part autobiographical, are realistic, humorous, and enthralling. Bulgakov gave up medicine in 1920 to become a journalist. ( )
2 vote VivienneR | Mar 12, 2016 |
A short Russian work featuring a series of interconnected stories set in the early 20th century featuring a newly qualified doctor manning a small hospital in the Russian countryside. Cut off from modern civilisation as he is by arduous weather conditions. the first few tales chronicle the young doctor's initial grieving at being left in such an undesirable position so early in his career. But as he has to perform lifesaving procedures upon the ignorant peasant population, including amputating the leg of a young girl, and performing a tracheotomy, he swiftly gains confidence and earns the respect of his assistant and midwives.
Throughout this narrative the author vividly portrays the trials and tribulations involved with being a young doctor in early 20th century Russia. The account is made more credible by the fact that the author was a trained doctor, with the stories being part fiction and part autobiography. The book is also less than 200 pages, making it a nice light read that can be read within the space of several hours (but what an entertaining experience it is). ( )
1 vote hickey92 | Jan 24, 2016 |
A series of short stories inspired by the author's experience of being a newly qualified doctor sent to a tiny, remote hospital in the soon to be Soviet Union. The stories are by turn serious, humorous, interesting, gross - but they all give a feel for what the practice of medicine was like at that time (1916) outside the major centres. Fascinating! ( )
1 vote PennyAnne | May 24, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 13 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (16 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Bulgakov, Mikhailprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Aplin, HughTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gibert, HélèneTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Glenny, MichaelTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Peet, DickTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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If you have never driven over country roads it is useless for me to tell you about it; you wouldn't understand anyway. But if you have, I would rather not remind you of it.
Quotations
I don't remember him arriving. I only remember the bolt grating in the door, a shriek from Aksinya and a cart creaking out in the yard.

He was hatless, his sheepskin coat unbuttoned, his beard was dishevelled and there was a mad look in his eyes.

He crossed himself, fell on his knees and banged his forehead against the floor. This to me!

'I'm a lost man,' I thought wretchedly.
'No, I will fight it... I will... I...' After a hard night, sweet sleep overtook me. Darkness, black as Egypt's night, descended and in it I was standing alone, armed with something that might have been a sword or might have been a stethoscope. I was moving forward and fighting... somewhere at the back of beyond. But I was not alone. With me was my warrior band: Demyan Lukich, Anna Nikolaevna, Pelagea Ivanova, all dressed in white overalls, all pressing forward.

Sleep... what a boon...
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