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Dr. X (Intern) returns, under his own name, with ""a work of fiction, plain and simple. . . about the nature of rural medical practice in America today."" Fiction it may be, but the plot strands here in Twin Forks, Montana--Dr. Rob Tanner's disintegrating marriage, his affair with ""Chris Erickson of the green eyes and lithe body,"" his exposÉ of hospital corruption, the suicide of a tyrannical doctor's wife--are just underdeveloped, overdrawn window dressing for pages upon pages of well-dramatized medical records. Car accidents, vitamin deficiencies, hernias, bleeding ulcers, a severe fracture that heals itself, deliveries Caesarean and otherwise, an exploding spleen, impromptu surgery, a 627-1b. man who must be examined in his car. And the crisis potential is certainly enhanced by the deficiencies of a ""stupid little one-lung hospital that can't keep its equipment together"": no blood-bank storage unit. no back-up defibrillator, a semi-incompetent internist, and a surgeon who's never around when needed (""That bastard is supposed to be doing our surgery, not screwing our nurses""). One can't help feeling that the readers who will enjoy extracting the multitudinous doctor thrills here would just as soon have had them in non-fiction form--without the half-hearted narrative padding and with the added power of first-person testimony from Dr. Nourse of North Bend, Washington. . . even if he would have had to call himself Doctor Z.

Pub Date: April 26th, 1978
Publisher: Harper & Row