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The Giant, O'Brien - Hilary Mantel

The Giant, O'Brien

By: Hilary Mantel

Paperback | 1 September 1999

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From the author of Wolf Hall, Bring Up the Bodies and The Mirror & the Light, comes the true story of the 18th Century Irish giant, Charles O’Brien, who was exhibited in London and eventually dissected by the surgeon John Hunter.
Charles O’Brien, bard and giant. The cynical are moved by his flights of romance; the craven stirred by his tales of epic deeds. But what of his own story as he is led from Ireland to seek his fortune beyond the seas in England?

The Surprising Irish Giant may be the sensation of the season but only his compatriots seem to attend to his mythic powers of invention. A motley court surrounds him: slow witted Jankin; the thrusting Claffey brothers; sharp-tongued Bride Claskey, the procuress. None so low as Bitch Mary, and none so opportunistic as impressario Joe Vance, yet London shall make its mark on them all.

In addition to the daunting task of taking his storytelling across the sea, The Giant O'Brien must be wary of John Hunter, a celebrated surgeon and anatomist who buys dead men from the gallows and the corpses of babies by the inch. The only problem for John Hunter is that the Giant is still alive. But for how long?

‘The Giant, O’ Brien’ is an unforgettable novel; lyrical, shocking and spliced with black comedy.
Industry Reviews
`[A] novel that magically creates an illusion of the Age of Enlightenment. Hilary Mantel puts the stink of the eighteenth century into our nostrils.' Independent

`A novelist of remarkable diversity...She writes about curiosity, companionship, art, love, death and eternity. She writes with wit, compassion and great elegance. Her books never fail to surprise, nor to delight: in this one she is at her very best - so far.' Independent on Sunday

`Mantel can out-write most writers of her generation, male and female. What she has done here is disturbing, grievous and extraordinary.' Maggie Gee, Sunday Times

'Filled with bizarre happenings, brazen images and characters whose earthiness you can smell.' TES

'Hilary Mantel has felt herself into the poetics of history with singular intensity.' New York Review

'Pathos and humour as they are elsewhere in the book are blended to perfection.' Sunday Telegraph

'Simultaneously vigorous and poetic, full of satisfying earthy details.' Sunday Independent (Ireland)

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