Having read A Fortunate Man recently, John Berger’s account of the world view of a country doctor, I was pleased to discover in a Leiden bookshop the other day, this collection assembled by Williams’ son.
Thirty years earlier, country US, written by a poet who supports himself through doctoring. Whereas it is Berger’s eye which informs what we read about his country doctor, here it is the medico’s eye that informs the writing. Having just been rereleased, there may be a new audience for this slim volume. It’s enthralling to read as a lay person interested in fiction, but Williams’ musings on the world of the general practitioner is not part of the canon for that group the way Berger’s still is. Maybe, even compared with Berger’s, it’s too bluntly honest. Doctors don’t come out of this smelling of any sort of flowers.