The Call by Yannick Murphy is the best book I've read in a really long time. In fact, as soon as I finished the last page I immediately started reading it again from the beginning, which is something I've never done. Usually my entertainment radar is set on plots and character development, but in this case, the style of writing drew me in and I muddled around inside someone else's brain for 200+ pages. Sounds strange, I know, but incredibly interesting.
The bare bones overview: David Appleton is a small town veterinarian in Vermont with a wife and three kids. Their life is pretty simple until a hunting accident changes everything, leaving his only son in a coma with many questions left unanswered for the close-knit family. As days stretch into weeks, David finds himself looking for answers around every corner and behind the eyes of everyone he meets as he cares for the local animals.
And while the plot itself is appealing, what makes this book a standout is a little harder to pinpoint. I can tell you what it's not: it's not written like any other kind of story I've ever read. I would loosely call it a journal; the pages are filled with wonderful, insightful observations of David that at first seem quirky, but then I realized were quite genius. The insipid details create a profound and very moving story. The book is divided into four seasons; otherwise there are no stopping points between entries which makes it either very easy to stop reading or, in my case, nearly impossible to put down.
As a vet, David documents his calls about the animals: from the owner's request to the diagnosis and care of the problem. What becomes fascinating is that the log-like entries also include other thoughts: what his wife made for dinner, what their kids said, what the phone says (hah-hah-hah-hah), what the house thinks at night, what the doctor thinks on the drive home from his visits, kind of like logging onto someone's social network page.
As a father, David struggles with his son's accident and slow recovery, wondering if he's staring at the face of the person responsible for shooting the boy with every neighbor or stranger he meets, wondering if they'll ever find that person, wondering if it really matters. Then, in an odd turn of events, David discovers that he has another son, leaving him with even more questions.
All of his thoughts, reflections, and the minutiae of daily life are spun out in short, quick sentences and the mundane suddenly becomes mesmerizing. The most insignificant moment is inspired, and the pages are filled with humor, resilience and a parent's love. It is truly a unique perspective on everyday life, even if your life is anything but everyday.
Recommended by Priscilla Garvin