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Hardcover A Few Short Notes on Tropical Butterflies: Stories Book

ISBN: 0060509287

ISBN13: 9780060509286

A Few Short Notes on Tropical Butterflies: Stories

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Format: Hardcover

Condition: Very Good

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Book Overview

These vivid and compelling tales, many set in Africa and Asia, are about immigrants and others facing change and dislocation. The science is never pedantic; indeed the language of biology and natural... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Terrific Medical Tales Set In Warring & Exotic Locales!

While there may be a surplus of great short stories out there, this collection should definitely rank among the all time greats! If you're looking for some great,terse, to the point writing about the current situation in places like Rwanda, India, and similar exotic locales, this is the best place to start! Mr. Murray tells a great story, and though there is plenty of expert medical procedures and info here, you won't feel condescended to in the least. Yes, we all know how horrible cholera is. Read this first story to REALLY know about it! And the same holds for every tale here. In short, an absolutely top collection!

A gorgeous first work of fiction!

It might be possible to read through this book quickly, just as it might be possible to chug down a bottle of vintage wine, but I wouldn't recommend it. Murray's stories - full of subtleties and set on several continents - deserve to be savored. In particular, I loved "The Carpenter Who Looked Like A Boxer," the story of a man who has built a life for himself and his children after being abandoned by his wife. Most impressive is that, while most of the stories deal with themes of loss, abandonment and difficult decisions about life, their impact is one of beauty and hope - and I hope we'll see more from this writer!

A Passion to Write Well

I've met so many doctors over the years who have incredible talent in other areas. Some manage to balance a full career and still pursue their painting or their love of the cello until they retire to live amazingly long lives, fueled by their passion on which they can now totally focus.I don't know what Dr. Murray's agenda will be, but I hope he can manage the balance between writing and a medical career. Murray understands the human heart. He has a great understanding of that one large or small situation or life event that hurls a person into choices they might never have made.Add to this his knowledge of the exotic world and its suffering about which most of us are totally in the dark, his facinating data, probably collected over a lifetime, regarding entymology, and finally his amazing ability with language, and you've got a tremendous reading experience.I envy anyone who has yet to read this debut of short stories. I grabbed it from the library after reading two Sunday newspaper reviews. I was so struck by his writing that I immediately sought out a signed edition. I can open it to any page and start reading prose that is closer to poetry.

Exquisite and very spare

I didn't quite know what to expect when I rec'd this book as a gift - and therefore I was delighted to discover how very much I loved this debut story collection. The stories, though unrelated, share a common thread so that there is a sense of continuity that is often lacking in such collections. Most of the characters are scientific professionals fleeing from some tragic or compromising life event, only to find that you can't run away from what's within you.Beautiful writing, straightforward but metaphorical and symbolic.Wow...!

More than the sum of its parts

John Murray is an Australian physician with a distinguished career in public health. He has traveled widely and worked in extraordinary, challenging situations that provide him with a wealth of material for these remarkable stories. He is a master of stunning, exquisite detail. To the delight of this reader, he has used his experience and knowledge, not to dazzle us with exotic tales, nor to create clever insider stories, but to reflect on the human condition. On those occasions that he recounts the horrific experience (and there are some) of a well-intentioned and perhaps heroic professional in a foreign land, it becomes a source of reflection on how we perceive ourselves and how we manage our lives, wherever we live. It made me think.Displacement is a theme in many of the stories. In an interview ...when asked why he was so interested in the immigrant experience, Murray responded that it was partly because he, himself, is an immigrant. His experience working with the displaced of the world has obviously also influenced his thinking. He posits that "the century we're living in is the century of displacement." But his vision is larger, I think. This is a century of displacement, not just for refugees, or emigres, but for all of us. Most of us are "on our own" these days, free from traditional constraints of the past. And we can identify our own dilemmas in those of his characters. They struggle with place, cultural inheritance, inclinations, their vision of themselves and who they insist they are. Is that familiar? The stories are layered, moving in time and place across years and continents - there are stories within stories, all of which contribute to the density and realization of the central figure of each. And the delicacy of the writer's hand, the wonderful and specific details that are incorporated in the stories serve, not (just) to awe us with the wealth of his knowledge, but to construct beautiful, translucent containers that illuminate their contents - the characters he has created. These are wonderful stories. The strength of the writing, the poetry, the surprising and often lovely images, the breadth and seriousness and the author's sensitivity make this collection a truly notable first offering. I am looking forward eagerly, to more.Penny Altman ...
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