Ingenious Pain, Paperback
4.5 out of 5 (1 rating)


The extraordinary prize-winning debut from Andrew Miller.

Winner of the IMPAC Award and James Tait Black Memorial Prize. At the dawn of the Enlightenment, James Dyer is born unable to feel pain.

A source of wonder and scientific curiosity as a child, he rises through the ranks of Georgian society to become a brilliant surgeon.

Yet as a human being he fails, for he can no more feel love and compassion than pain.

Until, en route to St Petersburg to inoculate the Empress Catherine against smallpox, he meets his nemesis and saviour.




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There is an astonishing and luminescent opening - a post-mortem carried out in the stable of a Devonian rectory in 1772 - to this hidden masterpiece. Ingenious Pain tells the life story of surgeon James Dyer, beginning with an examination of his corpse. The novel is an exploration of the idea that pain is necessary for us to express our humanity. Throughout his life Dyer has been unable to feel either physical or emotional pain. The book is full of rich historical detail and, at times, reminded me somewhat of Angela Carter's rollicking sensuous stories in Nights At The Circus. I think this is a very impressive debut, one that is perhaps going to be hard to top.

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