The Woman who Gave Birth to Rabbits: Stories

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Harcourt, 2002 - Fiction - 255 pages
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Donoghue finds her inspiration for these wry, robust tales in obscure scraps of historical records: an engraving of a woman giving birth to rabbits; a plague ballad; surgical case notes; theological pamphlets; an articulated skeleton. Here kings, surgeons, soldiers, and ladies of leisure rub shoulders with cross-dressers, cult leaders, poisoners, and arsonists.

Whether she's spinning the tale of an Irish soldier tricked into marrying a dowdy spinster, a Victorian surgeon's attempts to "improve" women, a seventeenth-century 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 stories an "elegant, colorful prose filled with unforgettable sights, sounds and smells" (Elle). Here she summons the ghosts of those women who counted for nothing in their own day, but who come to unforgettable life in fiction.

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The woman who gave birth to rabbits: stories

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From ballads, epitaphs, paintings, tombstones, and diary fragments, Donoghue (Slammerkin) has fashioned a collection of historical tales about what might have happened to women who have piqued her ... Read full review


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About the author (2002)

Emma Donoghue was born in Dublin in 1969 and earned her Ph.D. in eighteenth-century fiction at Cambridge. She is the author of three novels, a book of fairy tales, and several works of literary history. She lives in Ontario, Canada. For further information and current news, go to

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