16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
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.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
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.
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on 1 May 2005
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 interesting...it 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.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 28 December 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.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 7 November 2012
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.