HomeGroupsTalkMoreZeitgeist
This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Loading...

The Woman Who Gave Birth to Rabbits (2002)

by Emma Donoghue

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
4141945,361 (3.62)29
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?… (more)
Recently added byprivate library, lryshpan, suicidebybooks, dlduncan, Allyss, EQReader, brkwrn, EliKaz
  1. 11
    Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood (Littlemissmops)
    Littlemissmops: Atwood and Donoghue both have the same eye for details, and although these two book are quite dissmilar, Donoghue reminded me of early Atwood.
None
Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 29 mentions

English (18)  Dutch (1)  All languages (19)
Showing 1-5 of 18 (next | show all)
I'm not generally a short-story person, but I make an exception for Emma Donoghue. This collection (which I must admit to not remembering perfectly -- it's been a while since I read it) takes odd and unlikely from history and turns them into clever and often compelling fiction. ( )
  elenaj | Jul 31, 2020 |
As always with short story collections, there are some stories in here that I loved and a few that didn't excite me so much. My favourites were "Revelations", "Cured", "How a Lady Dies" and "The Necessity of Burning", but even with the ones that didn't quite work for me ("Account") I could enjoy their historical basis and the quality of Donoghue's writing.
  Tara_Calaby | Jun 22, 2020 |
Interesting and thought-provoking. Astray, written 10 years later, is similar but more polished and satisfying. Both consist of short stories based on/inspired by bits of history. ( )
  Siubhan | Feb 28, 2018 |
Have I ever been so in love with a book of short stories as this? The only one I can think of that would come close is Margaret Atwood's Good Bones, but that was less a book of short stories than it was a collection of prose poems and reimagined faerie tales. No, this is it. And Emma Donoghue is a delightful genius. Her writing takes part of what I love best about Jane Austen, colours it with a decidedly feminist sensibility, and mixes in a fascination with obscure historical details, especially those regarding medicine or illness. In truth, I found the first story a little dry, but with each successive story I found myself more and more enamored. By the end I wanted to hug the book to myself, and if I had a bit of money, I have several friends I would love to send off copies of this book to immediately. (Mindy, you are at the top of this list. Go see if your library has this book immediately!)

I would also like to point out that I'm not even particularly fond of short stories. Okay, I loved the Mark Twain stories my father read to me as a child, the Stephen King short stories I was addicted to in high school, then Neil Gaiman's short stories in college, but these are the exception. Most collections of short stories I never finish, rather I limp through two or three, then put the book down somewhere, never to be picked up again. I think the format is much abused, by people who can't be bothered to sustain a plotline long enough to create a novel. But Donaghue's stories are little gems.

What can I say to make you go out and pick up this book? Perhaps that each story is based off of some snippet of historical truth, a note in a ledger, a footnote in a biography of someone else. Some true thing that glimmered and fascinated, but was isolated, and nothing more of that life was known. Donaghue fleshes out these twinklings into stories, into women that we should have known. Passionate women who loved, raged and fought. Women who chose different paths, and women whose paths were chosen for them. All illuminate their time, regardless of how close to truth their stories are. And even better, following each story is a note of the truth behind it, documenting what parts of the story were true, and often how the rest was imagined.

This is one of the finest books I have read in a while. I would add it to Michelle Tea's class of women's experience in literature (read the upcoming bookslut interview to find out what I'm talking about.) ( )
  greeniezona | Dec 6, 2017 |
A collection of short stories, well written and engaging, bringing snippets of untold English/Irish/Scottish history to life. Subtly feminist and some glimpses of queerness from history. I enjoyed Donoghue’s narration and prose very much.

__________________

Some quotes I liked:

“Silence, like quicksand, under their feet.” (p. 47)

“When I sit up, cold air worms its way into the bed; Martha burrows down deeper.” (p. 71)

“Scotland is plague-stricken. Folk wear bruises of mauve and orange and yellow for a few days, and then they die.” (p. 73)

“They [the books] singe, their edges curl up prettily like the thinnest pastry.” (p. 197)
  csoki637 | Nov 27, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 18 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
Dedication
This book is dedicated with love to my father, Denis, who taught me that books are for letting us imagine lives other than our own.
First words
We were at home in Godalming, though some call it Godlyman, and I can't tell which is right, I say it the same way my mother said it.
Quotations
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English

None

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?

No library descriptions found.

Book description
Haiku summary

Quick Links

Popular covers

Rating

Average: (3.62)
0.5
1 1
1.5
2 3
2.5 1
3 28
3.5 7
4 38
4.5 5
5 6

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 155,589,198 books! | Top bar: Always visible