The Woman Who Gave Birth to Rabbits, Paperback Book

The Woman Who Gave Birth to Rabbits Paperback

4 out of 5 (2 ratings)


The Woman Who Gave Birth to Rabbits is a book of fictions, but they are also true. Over the last ten years, I have often stumbled over a scrap of history so fascinating that I had to stop whatever I was doing and write a story about it. My sources are the flotsam and jetsam of the last seven hundred years of British and Irish life: surgical case-notes; trial records; a plague ballad; theological pamphlets; a painting of two girls in a garden; an articulated skeleton. Some of the ghosts in this collection have famous names; others were written off as cripples, children, half-breeds, freaks and nobodies. The Woman Who Gave Birth to Rabbits is named for Mary Toft, who in 1726 managed to convince half England that she had done just that.So this book is what I have to show for ten years of sporadic grave-robbing, ferreting out forgotten puzzles and peculiar incidents, asking 'What really happened?', but also, 'What if?


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Review by

Lesbian author of short historical monographs.Enjoyed most. Eclectic subject matter and good at dealing with the underclass and drawing on folk-lore subjects.

Review by

I enjoyed this book much more than I'd expected to. I often struggle with short story collections because there's no continuous plot thread that makes me want to keep reading, but these stories had a different kind of twist that was almost as good: each one is inspired by an obscure historical fact, and at the end of each story there's a note explaining the historical basis. I found this absolutely fascinating, and I appreciated the stories much more when I could see how Donoghue had crafted them from the tiniest scraps of historical information. I just wish the notes had been longer.

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