The Woman who Gave Birth to Rabbits: Stories

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Harcourt, 2002 - Fiction - 255 pages
17 Reviews
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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Review: The Woman Who Gave Birth to Rabbits: Stories

User Review  - Goodreads

Such an outstanding collection of short stories - sparked by the odds and ends of archival and historical research. Emma Donoghue brings these women to life. I am rethinking my stance on short stories if I can find more like these. Read full review

Review: The Woman Who Gave Birth to Rabbits: Stories

User Review  - Goodreads

I love Emma Donoghue. It's been a while since I've read this, so I can't quite comment on specifics. But I loved this one. 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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