A Wander in Vetland
John Hicks is an English trained vet who has spent much of his working life in rural New Zealand. On one level A Wander in Vetland is an insider’s look at his changing profession. Hicks's entertaining anecdotes mark a fond farewell to “Herriotism”: the dated public image of life as a rural vet, so lovingly depicted in the novels of James Herriot.
But this memoir has a far broader scope. In a lively, literary style John Hicks links his tales with some of the more curious aspects of history - particularly veterinary and medical history. Hemlock poisoning leads to a discourse on Socrates’ death; brain surgery on a ram poses the question of how Neolithic man performed similar operations. There are insights into the nature of bladder stones in animals and how these relate to the suffering of Samuel Pepys in the seventeenth century; and if you ever wondered how Italian women seduced their lovers or about the use of goose quills by eunuchs in Eastern seraglios, the answers are here.
A Wander in Vetland also tackles serious issues such as a personal account of facing cancer. It is at turns fascinating, hilarious, and sobering or - as in an expose of how Noah collected animals for his ark - riotously satirical. An unusual and highly entertaining read.
Published: 23 September 2015
Other books from this Author