This book “took me” on an exciting, wild journey with the author and I enjoyed it immensely. It’s always full of life, fascinating, funny at times or quite sad and moving at others.
While the book is presented as Munthe’s memoirs, describing his time as a young Swedish doctor who studied under Charcot in Paris at the end of the 19th century, his work in Italy, various wild adventures and his love affair with the Isle of Capri and the home he built there, San Michele, it should not be seen as a factual biography.
According to the Wikipedia entry about the man and the book, it seems Munthe omitted all sorts of things (such as the fact that he was NOT single and even had children…) and may certainly have exaggerated some of his adventures. Nevertheless, there is no dispute regarding the fact that while Munthe earned a great deal of money from the rich he constantly used his skills as a doctor to serve the poor without any remuneration and was a great lover of animals.
Frankly, Munthe was a wonderful storyteller and it doesn’t bother me that the lines between what actually happened and what he would have liked to have happened were blurred. The book is a great read!
Once again, as I have said before, I’m “book lucky”. I recently visited Munthe’s house (well worth visiting!). On returning home I discovered that the book is already in the public domain and is available for free download on various platforms. It’s great to read a book I enjoy that ties in with my trip like that!