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Ingenious pain

4.3 out of 5 stars 44 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Unknown Binding
  • Publisher: University of Lancaster (1996)
  • ASIN: B001ONBS9Y
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I loved this book. Every detail was fresh with insight into the human condition. Suffering (both physical and mental), love, ambition, death - all were addressed with freshness, warmth and compassion. Even now, eight months after reading the book, I feel as if I have a film of the book's events running through my thoughts. Every detail had meaning. Every plot turn was the natural result of the character's personalities, flaws and desires. Nothing felt contrived. Amazing.
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Format: Paperback
This book was an absolute page turner for me. A friend reflects back over the strange life of a man from early age to adult surgeon. The man in question, after several adventures becomes one of the most sought after surgeons in the whole of europe, only one thing...he cannot feel any emotions or physical pain. And this of course creates problems. Towards the end of the book there is a great climax of events and then ends as it began. (Nice closure!) Set circa 17-18th century ? (sorry dates were never my forte) when a good bleeding was a cure for what ails you and much experimentation was going on . The scenes are graphic, incredibly beautiful, sometimes mystical.
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Format: Hardcover
This first time author so skilled and so committed to his subject that he has been able to reject all the conventions of novel writing and still get his surprising book published--receiving rave reviews on two continents in the process!
Miller sets the book in the eighteenth century and begins with a graphic autopsy of the main character. Here he recreates the philosophical and scientific attitudes of the period, attitudes which are alien to our own, and which he will explore as a subtext throughout the book. He summarizes the life of the main character--which he spends the rest of the book recounting--in the first chapter, eliminating any climactic excitement he might have created. His main character is a man with the inability to feel pain, someone with whom the reader cannot possibly identify, and his adventures are weirdly melodramatic, so unusual the reader's interest lies primarily in their curiosity.
Yet the book "works," and very often thrills. Somehow he does manage to make the reader care about James Dyer and his fate, and he does create excitement in a plot which skips from small town England to the court of Russia. Miller's masterful and controlled use of description is a primary factor in his ability to further the action of this unusual story and bring the characters and the period alive. This reader was awestruck by Miller's creative daring--and by his success. Mary Whipple
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By A Customer on 15 Oct. 2000
Format: Paperback
This is one of the best literary novels I have read in years. The prose is beautifully crafted, but (unlike many literary novels) the plot is also fast-moving and intriguing. The book tells the life of James Dyer, a man who can feel no pain, and the narrative slowly unfolds like a good poem - teasing and intriguing you, gradually taking you back into the heart of James life and background. Although now and again, I spotted a few details and characters 'borrowed' from Patrick O'Brian's novels, this is a truly original book that deserved to win the Booker Prize, as one reviewer on 'The Independent' noted. Why it wasn't nominated was a surprise - though no doubt Miller will be on the lists in future years. A writer of this talent cannot go unnoticed for long.
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By A Customer on 23 July 1999
Format: Paperback
Many books are described as 'poetic' and 'lyrical', but few are as deserving of the adjectives as this. The relentless use of the first person carries the reader along as though on a wave, and few writers display such an understanding of the power of the English language. Quite simply one of the best books I've read in years, truly 'haunting' (another overused, but apt adjective) and genuinely moving with scenes you'll be thinking back on many months later. And it's Miller's first novel! A great book.
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Format: Paperback
A doctor that is uncapable of feeling physical pain, now there's an original starting point for a novel! Set in the 18th century but timeless in its study of human behaviour, and written in a most beautiful style. Insightful, engrossing, captivating, ... you name it, this book has it all.
I've lost count of the number of people I've recommended this to, and most of them still thank me for it ;-) Allow yourselves a treat, I hope you'll enjoy it as much as I did.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
After reading 'Pure' by Andrew Miller I decided to read more of his books and found the theme of 'Ingenious Pain' intriguing. James Dyer, the main character endures inflicted pain without flinching and his wounds heal rapidly - this is unbelievable yet Andrew Miller writes with such earnestness and conviction the reader accepts this as a reality.
From his birth young James is 'different', he enjoys an aura of strangeness and endures the trial and tribulations of an innocent looking for answers! To say more would possibly spoil the book for others.
James' adventures continue with strange companions across lands and territories which try their fortitude but his encounter with Mary is either James's salvation or curse - that's for the reader to decide.
Of the many characters in 'Ingenious Pain' the most loyal and supportive is the Reverend Lestrade.
Andrew Miller writes fluidly, a real page turner, and with depth and understanding of his characters. Although some incidents were 'out of a magician's hat' I thoroughly enjoyed the pace and unexpected turns this novel took.
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