The Woman Who Gave Birth to Rabbits by Emma Donoghue

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Emma Donoghue vividly brings to life stories inspired by her discoveries of fascinating, hidden scraps of the past. Here an engraving of a woman giving birth to rabbits, a plague ballad, surgical case notes, theological pamphlets, and an articulated skeleton are ingeniously fleshed out into rollicking, full-bodied fictions.
Whether she's spinning the tale of an English soldier tricked into marrying a dowdy spinster, a Victorian surgeon's attempts to "improve" women, a seventeenth-century Irish countess who ran away to Italy disguised as a man, or an "undead" murderess returning for the maid she left behind to be executed in her place, Emma Donoghue brings to her tales a colorful, elegant prose filled with the sights and smells and sounds of the period. She summons the ghosts of those men and women who counted for nothing in their own day and brings them to unforgettable life in fiction.

About Emma Donoghue

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Born in Dublin in 1969, Emma Donoghue is an Irish emigrant twice over: she spent eight years in Cambridge doing a PhD in eighteenth-century literature before moving to London, Ontario, where she lives with her partner and their two children. She also migrates between genres, writing literary history, biography, stage and radio plays as well as fairy tales and short stories. She is best known for her novels, which range from the historical (Slammerkin, Life Mask, Landing, The Sealed Letter) to the contemporary (Stir-Fry, Hood, Landing). Her international bestseller Room was a New York Times Best Book of 2010 and was a finalist for the Man Booker, Commonwealth, and Orange Prizes. For more information, visit
Published June 1, 2003 by Mariner Books. 278 pages
Genres: Education & Reference, Literature & Fiction, History. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Woman Who Gave Birth to Rabbits

Kirkus Reviews

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Seventeen stories by the Irish-born Canadian author (Slammerkin, 2001, etc.) ransack what Donoghue calls "the flotsam and jetsam of the last seven hundred years of British and Irish life" for razor-sharp vignettes of the fates of women in judgmental male-dominated societies.

May 20 2010 | Read Full Review of The Woman Who Gave Birth to R...

Publishers Weekly

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This lovely story's faltering and vague end is explained by an author's note revealing that years later, Margaret Kingsborough became a friend of Wollstonecraft's daughter, Mary Shelley.

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Entertainment Weekly

The best stories (including ''The Last Rabbit,'' about an Englishwoman who concocted a bunny-birthing hoax) contain descriptions like ''the ruts splashed ink on his lace cuff'' -- period detail for its own sake.

May 31 2002 | Read Full Review of The Woman Who Gave Birth to R...

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