The Giant, O'Brien

The Giant, O'Brien

A Novel

Book - 1998
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The year is 1782; the place, London: the center of science and commerce, home to the newly rich and magnet to the desperately poor. Among the latter is the Giant, O'Brien, a freak of nature, a man of song and story who trusts in the old myths, in Irish kings and fairies. He has come to exhibit his size for money. He has, he soon finds, come to die. His opposite is a man of science, a society surgeon, the famed anatomist John Hunter, employer to a legion of grave robbers. He lusts after the Giant's corpse. Coin is offered. The Giant refuses. He will be buried, he will assume his throne in heaven. But money changes hands as friends are bribed. The Giant sickens, dies. Today, his bones may be seen by any curious stranger who visits the Huntarian Museum in London, part of the Royal College of Surgeons. Hailed as "an acute observer, fearless in exploring difficult subjects" (The Wall Street Journal), Mantel here tells of the fated convergence of two worlds--Ireland and England, poetry and science--on the cusp of a new century. As belief wrestles knowledge, so The Giant, O'Brien calls to us from a fork in the road. It is a tale of its time, a timeless tale.
Publisher: New York : Henry Holt ; Toronto : Doubleday Canada, 1998.
ISBN: 9780805044287
Branch Call Number: FICTION MAN


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Jul 13, 2016

Beautifully written. The further you read on, the more you want to keep on reading. It describes the change in life that cities bring, compared to the peaceful simpleness of outside life. A great read for a summer evening. Barely drones on at times.

Jan 26, 2015

A sad but brilliant book


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FavouriteFiction Oct 22, 2009

The story of 18th-century Irish giant Charles Byrnes and the surgeon who becomes obsessed with dissecting him after he dies.

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