The Giant, O'Brien by Hilary Mantel

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New York Times Book Review Notable Book of the Year

Los Angeles Times Best Book of the Year

London, 1782: center of science and commerce, home to the newly rich and the desperately poor. In the midst of it all is the Giant, O'Brien, a freak of nature, a man of song and story who trusts in myths, fairies, miracles, and little people. He has come from Ireland to exhibit his size for money. O'Brien's opposite is a man of science, the famed anatomist John Hunter, who lusts after the Giant's corpse as a medical curiosity, a boon to the advancement of scientific knowledge.

In her acclaimed novel, two-time Man Booker Prize winning author Hilary Mantel tells of the fated convergence of Ireland and England. As belief wrestles knowledge and science wrestles song, so The Giant, O'Brien calls to us from a fork in the road as a tale of time, and a timeless tale.


About Hilary Mantel

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Hilary Mantel's novels "offer lessons in life's contrariness, in the tensions between free will, unfortunate accident, and involuntary behavior" (Los Angeles Times Book Review). She is the author of eight novels and winner of the prestigious Hawthornden Prize for Literature.
Published June 12, 2007 by Henry Holt and Co.. 206 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Giant, O'Brien

Kirkus Reviews

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The title character in Mantel's grimly lyrical latest novel (after Eight Months on Ghazzah Street, 1997, etc.) is in flight from a number of horrors.

May 20 2010 | Read Full Review of The Giant, O'Brien

Publishers Weekly

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The most engaging moments in Mantel's intriguing new novel occur when the uneducated Irish characters who make up the loutish retinue of the Giant, O'Brien converse. Perfectly imagining the vocabu

Sep 28 1998 | Read Full Review of The Giant, O'Brien

Publishers Weekly

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Taking as her inspiration the 18th-century Irish giant Charles Byrnes, whose bones are still on exhibit in a London museum, Mantel has imagined the fate of the man, who leaves the dire poverty and scorched earth of the Irish countryside and comes to London entertaining grandiose fantasies of rich...

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The Giant O'Brien is a fictionalised account of two historical lives: the celebrated Irish giant, Charles Byrne, who travelled to England in 1782, and the famed Scottish surgeon and anatomist, John Hunter.

Aug 17 2011 | Read Full Review of The Giant, O'Brien

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