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The Woman Who Gave Birth To Rabbits [Paperback]

Emma Donoghue
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
Price: 8.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

6 Jun 2002

The Woman Who Gave Birth to Rabbits is a book of fictions, but they are also true. Over the last ten years, I have often stumbled over a scrap of history so fascinating that I had to stop whatever I was doing and write a story about it. My sources are the flotsam and jetsam of the last seven hundred years of British and Irish life: surgical case-notes; trial records; a plague ballad; theological pamphlets; a painting of two girls in a garden; an articulated skeleton. Some of the ghosts in this collection have famous names; others were written off as cripples, children, half-breeds, freaks and nobodies. The Woman Who Gave Birth to Rabbits is named for Mary Toft, who in 1726 managed to convince half England that she had done just that.

So this book is what I have to show for ten years of sporadic grave-robbing, ferreting out forgotten puzzles and peculiar incidents, asking 'What really happened?', but also, 'What if?

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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Virago (6 Jun 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1860499546
  • ISBN-13: 978-1860499548
  • Product Dimensions: 12.6 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 247,220 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Book Description

* From the bestselling author of Slammerkin comes a collection of fascinating historical stories

About the Author

Emma Donoghue is an Irish novelist, playwright and historian. Her second novel HOOD won the American Library Association Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Award in 1997. She is currently adapting her novel STIR-FRY for Horizonline Films (Ireland).

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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating Historical Snippets 26 Aug 2010
Emma Donoghue is fast becoming one of my favourite authors - I adored Slammerkin and read the Booker nominated Room just a couple of weeks ago, so was interested to see what this collection of short stories would be like.

This is a book of fictions that are also true, over the years Emma Donoghue has come across snippets of history that are so bizarre, yet true that she felt the urge to write a story around the facts and this is the collection of those stories.

Like most short story collections, some are much better than others. The title story of Mary Toft who claimed to give birth to live rabbits is excellent, as is the story of the miniature girl; taken from her parents and paraded as a freak show exhibit.

Emma Donoghue has a real skill of almost bringing people to life on the page and transports the reader bang into the middle of whatever story she is telling.

A varied but clever collection of stories that showcases the bizarre and the fascinating bits of history that most of us will never have come across before.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great start... 1 May 2005
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The title story is excellent; well written, amusing, and utterly engaging but the shorts after that range from mildly interesting to fairly dull. I really wanted to enjoy this work as it had such promise to be wasn't. I have given it 3 stars solely based on the title story. I think it should have been an interesting exercise on the author's part rather than be shared with the reading public.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting and original 28 Dec 2011
I was drawn by the title of this book, and I agree it is one of the strongest stories, but the others are also interesting and well-written.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Weird but true! 7 Nov 2012
By Lozzyj
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
After reading the Room, I found I wanted to read more by Emma Donoghue so searched and found this book. This is a compilation of short true stories to make you wince and gasp. Thoroughly enjoyable.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Women 2 Aug 2012
By sally tarbox TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Kindle Edition
Intriguing collection of short stories based around female moments in history (many from the author's native Ireland.)
I found myself motivated to look up some of these women on the internet- Frances Cobbe who devoted her life to the anti-vivisection movement; Elspeth Buchan who led a religious cult in the 1790s; Dido Bell, a black girl brought up as daughter of the house by her titled white uncle during the era of the slave trade. Each story is followed by background notes on the characters mentioned.
Well written and totally original.
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