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Mary Toft, or, The rabbit queen

by Palmer, Dexter Clarence, 1974-

Format: Print Book 2019
Availability: Unavailable 0 of 6 copies
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Summary
In 1726, in the town of Godalming, England, a woman confounded the nation's medical community by giving birth to seventeen rabbits. This astonishing true story is the basis for Dexter Palmer's stunning, powerfully evocative new novel.

Surgeon's apprentice Zachary Walsh knows that his master, John Howard, prides himself on his rationality. But John cannot explain how or why Mary Toft, the wife of a local journeyman, has managed to give birth to a dead rabbit. When this singular event be­comes a regular occurrence, John and Zach­ary realize that nothing in their experience as rural physicians has prepared them to deal with a situation like this--strange, troubling, and possibly miraculous. John contacts sev­eral of London's finest surgeons, three of whom soon arrive in Godalming to observe, argue, and perhaps use the case to cultivate their own fame.

When King George I learns of Mary's plight, she and her doctors are summoned to London, where Zachary experiences a world far removed from his small-town ex­istence and is exposed to some of the dark­est corners of the human soul. All the while Mary lies in bed, as doubts begin to blossom among her caretakers and a growing group of onlookers waits with impatience for an­other birth, another miracle.
Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "After exploring the near future in Version Control (2016), Palmer turns in a brilliant work of historical fiction set in Godalming, England, in 1726. Zachary Walsh is a surgeon's apprentice being mentored by the logical, John Locke-inspired John Howard. When one of Godalming's residents, Mary Toft, begins to give birth to dead rabbits, John's rational mind cannot grasp what he is witnessing. As illustrious London surgeons flock to the usually quiet Godalming, confident they can explain this freakish occurence, the town's gossip-merchants develop elaborate tales about this seeming miracle. When the King begins to take an interest and doubts begin to grow Mary is taken to London. There, through Zachary's innocent eyes, Palmer evocatively depicts the dramatic changes witnessed during this period in race relations, industrialization, and the birth of the modern novel. Moreover, like the historical fiction of Hillary Mantel or Caryl Phillips, Palmer does not shy away from the depravity of the past, particularly the violent desires of London's elite. Expertly utilizing an actual bizarre historical event to explore faith, reason, and the foundations of our current economic system, this exhaustively researched and dexterously constructed novel is another triumph to add to Palmer's incredibly diverse corpus of works.--Alexander Moran Copyright 2010 Booklist"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "In this follow-up to Version Control, Palmer brilliantly fictionalizes the true story of Mary Toft, who in 1726 perplexed England when she gave birth to dead rabbits. John Howard, the only surgeon in the small town of Godalming, and his 14-year-old apprentice, Zachary Walsh, find their relatively quaint medical consults disrupted by a call from farmer Joshua Toft, who says his wife, Mary, is ready to give birth, despite having had a miscarriage fewer than six months earlier. John and Zachary are further surprised when Mary gives birth to a dead rabbit--and then another, and then another. Soon, word spreads and surgeons are sent from London to study the case. As Mary continues to give birth to a rabbit every few days, she's brought to London for additional inspection, accompanied by John and Zachary, where the answer to the mystery finally comes to light. Palmer evocatively captures the period, from the sleepy matters of Godalming to the noise and danger of London (a violent show in a back alley is particularly memorable). But more impressive are the novel's inquiries into the human concerns of wonder, denial, and belief. "And so I am becoming, not myself, but a mixture of the dreams of others," Mary thinks. Palmer skillfully and rewardingly delves into the humanity at the heart of this true historical oddity. (Nov.)"
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects Toft, Mary, -- 1703-1763 -- Fiction.
Physicians -- Fiction.
Godalming (England) -- History -- 18th century -- Fiction.
Great Britain -- History -- George I, 1714-1727 -- Fiction.
Historical fiction.
Biographical fiction.
Publisher New York :2019
Edition First edition.
Other Titles Mary Toft
Rabbit queen
Language English
Description viii, 319 pages ; 25 cm
Bibliography Notes Includes bibliographical references (pages 315-319).
ISBN 9781101871935
1101871938
Other Classic View