Winckler, Martin 1955-
WINCKLER, Martin 1955-
PERSONAL: Born Marc Zaffran, 1955 (some sources say 1953), in Algiers, Algeria; married; children: eight. Education: Earned M.D., 1977.
CAREER: Writer and translator. Retired general medical practitioner.
AWARDS, HONORS: Prix du Livre Inter, for The Case of Dr. Sachs.
La Vacation, Paul Otchakovsky-Laurens (Paris, France), 1989.
La Maladie de Sachs, Paul Otchakovsky-Laurens (Paris, France), 1998, translation by Linda Asher published as The Case of Dr. Sachs, Seven Stories Press (New York, NY), 2001.
Contributor of essays on social and medical issues to periodicals. Translator into French of the works of Richard Powers, Patrick Macnee, and Nicholson Baker. La Maladie de Sachs has been translated into ten languages.
ADAPTATIONS: Movie version of The Case of Dr. Sachs, directed by Michel Deville, won first prize at the Chicago Film Festival, 2001.
SIDELIGHTS: Martin Winckler's first published work, La Vacation, introduces Dr. Bruno Sachs, a doctor who performs legal abortions at his clinic on Tuesday, Thursdays, and Fridays. Davida Brautman, reviewing La Vacation in the French Review, noted that it is a "new novel," that is, it uses "thought processes to communicate the dissatisfaction of the protagonist (and of the narrator) throughout the novel." Brautman commented that Winckler "has chosen an extremely delicate, controversial subject."
Winckler returned to his protagonist Dr. Sachs in The Case of Doctor Sachs, published in French as La Maladie de Sachs. Iain Bamforth, reviewing the novel in the British Medical Journal, called the work "a big, operatic, engaging book." Bamforth also observed, "La Maladie de Sachs unfolds in that grey area between the privacy of the doctor's surgery and a writer's need to develop a book through the lives of its characters." F. Gonzalez-Crusse, reviewing The Case of Doctor Sachs in the Washington Post Book World, commented: "The book unfolds with unflagging bravura; it is finely written and inconceivable as the work of anyone other than a practicing physician....his words, simple and unpretentious, move us deeply."
Born Marc Zaffran in French Algeria, Winckler is a former doctor who stopped practicing medicine to devote his time to writing. He draws from several years of experience as a general practitioner in writing his books. Tony Miksanek, a reviewer for the Journal of the American Medical Association, noted that The Case of Doctor Sachs's protagonist "is a compassionate general practitioner who works in a small French town" and that the story "is narrated primarily by the doctor's patients and acquaintances." In a Publishers Weekly interview with the author, Herbert R. Lottman noted that "the real Bruno Sachs is not him, but his father." Another reviewer in Publishers Weekly described the book as a "journal . . . made up of discrete chapters or vignettes." William Beatty, writing in Booklist, called Winckler's "imagination and skill . . . remarkable." Jim Dwyer, reviewing the novel in Library Journal, "highly recommended" the book, which he described as "a realistic romance, and a fascinating character study."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, September 15, 2000, William Beatty, review of The Case of Dr. Sachs, p. 220.
British Medical Journal, December 12, 1998, Iain Bamforth, review of La Maladie de Sachs, p. 1666.
French Review, March, 1991, Davida Brautman, review of La Maladie de Sachs, pp. 728-729.
Journal of the American Medical Association, December 27, 2000, Tony Miksanek, review of The Case of Dr. Sachs, p. 3186.
Library Journal, September 15, 2000, Jim Dwyer, review of The Case of Dr. Sachs, p. 115.
New England Journal of Medicine, March 8, 2001, Elena M. Massarotti, review of The Case of Dr. Sachs, p. 778.
Publishers Weekly, September 25, 2000, review of The Case of Dr. Sachs, p. 89; October 30, 2000, Herbert R. Lottman, "Martin Winckler: Notes of a French Doctor," p. 41.
Washington Post Book World, November 19, 2000, F. Gonzalez-Crussi, "The Healing Art," p. 3.
French Culture,http://www.frenchculture.org/ (September 16, 2001).