The Giant, O'Brien

The Giant, O'Brien

A Novel

Book - 1998
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Baker & Taylor
A recreation of London in 1782 dramatically shows how ancient beliefs came into conflict with the growth of science, chronicling the life and death of a huge Irishman who plans to make a fortune through his immense size. 20,000 first printing.

McMillan Palgrave
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.


Holtzbrinck
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.

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.


Blackwell North Amer
The year is 1782; the place, London: center of science and commerce, home to the newly rich and magnet to the desperately poor. Among whom is the Irish Giant, O'Brien, a freak of nature, a man of song and story who places his faith in old myths, in fairies, miracles, and the little people. He has come to exhibit himself, to amaze all London with his great size. He has, he soon finds, come to die.
The Giant's polar opposite and deadly opponent is a once-poor Scot who has become a society doctor. A famed anatomist and the employer of a legion of "resurrection men" - grave robbers who supply him with the specimens he must have to pursue his science - John Hunter knows the Giant is dying, and he lusts after his remains. He must have the corpse: his science demands it. Coin is offered. The Giant refuses: he will be properly buried, he will assume his throne in heaven.
But money changes hands as friends are bribed and suborned. The Giant sickens, dies. Today his bones are on view to any curious stranger who passes through the Hunterian Museum in London's Royal College of Surgeons. Science has won.

Baker
& Taylor

A recreation of London in 1782 shows how ancient beliefs came into conflict with the growth of science, chonicling the life and death of a huge Irishman who plans to make a fortune through his immense size

Publisher: New York : H. Holt, 1998
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780805044287
0805044280
Branch Call Number: FICTION MANTEL
Characteristics: 192 p. ; 22 cm

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h
hayasash
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.

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finn75
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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