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An Irish Country Doctor    by Patrick Taylor order for
Irish Country Doctor
by Patrick Taylor
Order:  USA  Can
Forge, 2007 (2007)

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* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

What an absolute delight of a book. And a surprise. An Irish Country Doctor is a novel with its roots in Northern Ireland in the 1950s and not a mention of the troubles.

Barry Laverty comes as a newly appointed doctor to the village of Ballybucklebo, to become an assistant to the longstanding physician of that place. Ballybucklebo is far from Belfast, both geographically and philosophically. Laverty comes armed with his M.D. and a head full of the traditional way things should be done: the medicine he was taught in medical school. He finds himself factored to a man who doctors by the seat of his pants. Who occasionally misses a call. Who tends to his patients' hypochondria as well as their real ills. Who cares for their state of mind as well as their abscessed fingers.

The politics of that wee village aren't as important to Dr. Fingal Flahertie O'Reilly as his patients' well-being - as Dr. Laverty soon discovers. Dr. O'Reilly's cavalier methods appall his new assistant until that assistant sees the end results. An Irish Country Doctor offers a lesson in human nature and how one handles oneself; in believing in what one is going to do and then progressing to the finale. It was fun watching urban Dr. Laverty settle into the rural life, and be a part - in a short span of time - of Ballybuckledo, meeting its residents and sharing in their triumphs as well as their heartbreaks.

An Irish Country Doctor introduces readers to a man worth knowing in Dr. Fingal Flahertie O'Reilly - as is also his acolyte, Dr. Barry Laverty.

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