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The woman who gave birth to rabbits : stories

by Donoghue, Emma, 1969-

Format: Print Book 2002
Availability: Available at 3 Libraries 3 of 3 copies
Available (3)
Location Collection Call #
CLP - Main Library First Floor - Fiction Stacks FICTION Donoghue
Location  CLP - Main Library
Collection  First Floor - Fiction Stacks
Call Number  FICTION Donoghue
Northern Tier Regional Library Fiction FIC DONOG
Location  Northern Tier Regional Library
Collection  Fiction
Call Number  FIC DONOG
Northland Public Library Fiction FIC DON
Location  Northland Public Library
Collection  Fiction
Call Number  FIC DON
Donoghue finds her inspiration for these wry, robust tales in obscure scraps of historical records: an engraving of a woman giving birth to rabbits; a plague ballad; surgical case notes; theological pamphlets; an articulated skeleton. Here kings, surgeons, soldiers, and ladies of leisure rub shoulders with cross-dressers, cult leaders, poisoners, and arsonists.

Whether she's spinning the tale of an Irish soldier tricked into marrying a dowdy spinster, a Victorian surgeon's attempts to "improve" women, a seventeenth-century countess who ran away to Italy disguised as a man, or an "undead" murderess returning for the maid she left behind to be executed in her place, Emma Donoghue brings to her stories an "elegant, colorful prose filled with unforgettable sights, sounds and smells" ( Elle ). Here she summons the ghosts of those women who counted for nothing in their own day, but who come to unforgettable life in fiction.
The last rabbit
Acts of union
The fox on the line
Night vision
Come, gentle night
Figures of speech
Words for things
How a lady dies
A short story
The necessity of burning.

Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "Engaging in a kind of literary grave robbing--some 10 years of gleaning "history scraps" from 700 years of British and Irish life--Donoghue has appropriated surgical case notes, an engraving of a woman giving birth to rabbits, old theological pamphlets, and more known "facts" to use as the cores of the 17 stories in this book: fictions that are true, though not, perhaps, in their most sensational particulars. They include such causes celebres as the story of Mary Toft, who in 1726 conned half of England into believing she had given birth to rabbits, and the wedding night of Euphemia "Effie" Chalmers Gray (1828^-97) and art critic John Ruskin (1819^-1900) in a six-year marriage that ended when Effie ran away and had the marriage annulled on the grounds of nonconsummation. The latter, based on family letters and legal documents cited in various Ruskin biographies, tends, as do the rest of these odd accounts, to favor the woman in the affair. --Whitney Scott"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "In the spirit of her praised novel, Slammerkin, Donoghue has created a series of stories infused by a lively imagination. Set in England and Ireland, these 15 tales have their genesis in obscure bits of history and folklore, from which Donoghue extrapolates possible endings. Most take place in the 17th and 18th centuries, when women had few rights and little freedom; though the protagonists are often extraordinary, their circumstances render them powerless. "Words for Things" is a restrained but moving tale of the ambiguous relationship between Margaret Kingsborough, a clever Irish adolescent dominated by her vicious mother, and her governess, "Mistress Mary," whom alert readers will guess is Mary Wollstonecraft. This lovely story's faltering and vague end is explained by an author's note revealing that years later, Margaret Kingsborough became a friend of Wollstonecraft's daughter, Mary Shelley. A writer with a finely attuned ear, Donoghue varies the rhythms of her prose to reflect the range of language appropriate to her characters' social station. Disillusion colors the voice of peasant woman Mary Toft, who in the 1720s conspired with her doctor to convince the public she was giving birth to rabbits. She lived to rue her trick and to realize that "it is the way of the world for a woman's legs to be open." In "Cured," a working woman with chronic pain is mutilated by a quack doctor. "Figures of Speech" depicts a noblewoman in the agonies of childbirth, incredulous that she may die "like any normal woman, in a bed of sweat and blood and sh-t." For Donoghue's characters, as with their real historical counterparts, there is no escape from "the lot of womanhood." If they sometimes seem to drive her point home with unrelieved intensity, her eloquent stories elicit indignation and sorrow. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved"
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects Eccentrics and eccentricities -- Fiction.
Curiosities and wonders -- Fiction.
Historical fiction, English.
Women -- Fiction.
Publisher New York :Harcourt,2002
Edition 1st ed.
Language English
Description 255 pages ; 21 cm
ISBN 0151009376
Other Classic View