The Giant, O’Brien

Hilary Mantel

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. John Hunter, celebrated surgeon and anatomist, buys dead men from the gallows and babies’ corpses by the inch. Where is a man as unique as The Giant to hide his bones when he is yet alive? The Giant, O’ Brien is an unforgettable novel; lyrical, shocking and spliced with black comedy.

Reviews of The Giant, O’Brien

  • ‘[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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