In 1726, in the town of Godalming, England, a woman confounded the nation’s medical community by giving birth to seventeen rabbits. This astonishing true story is the basis for Dexter Palmer’s stunning, powerfully evocative new novel. Surgeon’s apprentice Zachary Walsh knows that his master, John Howard, prides himself on his rationality. But John cannot explain how or why Mary Toft, the wife of a local journeyman, has managed to give birth to a dead rabbit. When this singular event becomes a regular occurrence, John and Zachary realize that nothing in their experience as rural physicians has prepared them to deal with a situation like this—strange, troubling, and possibly miraculous. John contacts several of London’s finest surgeons, three of whom soon arrive in Godalming to observe, argue, and perhaps use the case to cultivate their own fame .When King George I learns of Mary’s plight, she and her doctors are summoned to London, where Zachary experiences a world far removed from his small-town existence and is exposed to some of the darkest corners of the human soul. All the while Mary lies in bed, as doubts begin to blossom among her caretakers and a growing group of onlookers waits with impatience for another birth, another miracle.
About the Author
Dexter Palmer is the author of two previous novels: Version Control, which was selected as one of the best novels of 2016 by GQ, the San Francisco Chronicle, and other publications, and The Dream of Perpetual Motion, which was selected as one of the best fiction debuts of 2010 by Kirkus Reviews. He lives in Princeton, New Jersey.
Historical fiction at its best. Free Library of Philadelphia, USA
Meet our judging panel for 2024 Dublin Literary Award
VideoJune 2 2023
Highlights from the 2023 Dublin Literary Award Ceremony
Katja Oskamp and translator Jo Heinrich win the prize for Marzahn, Mon Amour.
VideoMay 26 2023
2023 Award Winners in Conversation with Rick O’Shea
Author, Katja Oskamp and translator, Jo Heinrich in conversation.
VideoMay 25 2023
Flowers Say it Better, Love – A poem by Sarah Creighton Keogh
Commissioned for the 2023 Dublin Literary Award Ceremony.