The Physician

268a3f40.jpgAlthough I had seen his name on reading lists and seen some of his books in bookshops, I’d never read anything by Noah Gordon before. I am an avid reader so every time I see other bookworms whose judment I value I ask them for reading tips.

A few weeks ago, at the end of our holidays, I paid a visit to a friend and her husband to say thank you for looking after the cat while we were away and I asked Viviane my usual questions “any good books you have read recently that I should read?”.

She immediately rushed to her room and came back with five or six books. I selected four and went back home. I read The Innocent by Harlan Coben and then The Various Haunts of Men by Susan Hill and found them entertaining, if not exactly memorable (especially the Harlan Coben).

Last Monday, I decided to start Noah Gordon’s The Physician. This novel relates the story of English boy Robert J. Cole who becomes a barber’s apprentice when his parents die and who decides to travel to Persia after he has met a real doctor who tells him the best medical school is in Ispahan. As Christians were not allowed in Arab schools, Rob joins a group of Jewish travelers and pretends he is a Jew so as to be accepted at the madrasah.

This book is entertaining as well as informative if you like historical novels. I enjoyed the picture of medieval Europe and Persia as well as the glimpse into Jewish life at the time, especially the emphasis on hospitality to all Jews in a hostile world.

3 thoughts on “The Physician

  1. I read “The Physician” several years ago and loved it! There are also 2 sequels that are good (though not as good as the first one). One takes place in the 1800s (I think) and the main character is Rob J.’s descendent, another doctor. The third book takes place in the present day, and the main character is another descendant who becomes a doctor- this time a woman.

    I recently read a good book with a Jewish theme- “In the Image” by Dara Horn.

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