Many of the stories in the collection involve the protagonist facing a medical challenge of some kind. With no practical experience he faces up to this and (usually) succeeds without exposing his fears or uncertainties. Recurring themes include the severity of the cold and the blizzards, the isolation, and the backwardness of peasant attitudes to health and medical care.
The last two stories have different settings. The longest, "Morphine", is the first person journal of a doctor descending into the hell of morphine addiction. And "The Murderer" is set in Kiev during the Russian Civil War, just before its capture by the Bolsheviks.
The setting and presumably some of the plot elements of A Country Doctor's Notebook are largely autobiographical, with Bulgakov himself having qualified as a doctor in 1916 and having worked in Kiev and in the Caucasus. This may contribute to the realism and detail of the stories. That is rather different to the satirical fantasy in The Master and Margarita, Bulgakov's best known work, but these are effective and appealing stories.
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