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Mary Toft; or, The Rabbit Queen

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Mary Toft; or, The Rabbit Queen by Dexter Palmer
Nov 19, 2019 | ISBN 9781101871935
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  • Hardcover $27.95

    Nov 19, 2019 | ISBN 9781101871935

  • Ebook $13.99

    Nov 19, 2019 | ISBN 9781101871942

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“This gripping, well-written novel is a wonder of characterization . . . Faith and science, uneducated villagers and London’s aristocratic elite, this novel plumbs the spectrum to offer an immersion in the world of the burgeoning Enlightenment. A fascinating, propulsive read from beginning to end, this is a stimulating novel of ideas and imagination.”
—Bethany Latham, Historical Novel Review
“Sharp, droll, and actually fairly profound in its observations about human experience, and the nature of belief. I can’t wait for the work day to be over so I can get back to reading it.”
—Emily Temple, LitHub
“A suspenseful, thought-provoking narrative that pairs well with dystopian fiction such as The Handmaid’s Tale.
Shelf Awareness
“A brilliant work . . . Like the historical fiction of Hillary Mantel or Caryl Phillips, Palmer does not shy away from the depravity of the past. Expertly utilizing an actual bizarre historical event to explore faith, reason, and the foundations of our current economic system, this exhaustively researched and dexterously constructed novel is another triumph to add to Palmer’s incredibly diverse corpus of works.”
Booklist (starred review)
“Palmer brilliantly fictionalizes the true story of Mary Toft . . . [He] evocatively captures the period . . . But more impressive are the novel’s inquiries into the human concerns of wonder, denial, and belief. . . Palmer skillfully and rewardingly delves into the humanity at the heart of this true historical oddity.”
Publishers Weekly
“Deft, droll, and provocatively philosophical . . . A novel that attempts to illuminate ‘the slippery nature of truth,’ when everything from God to reality is up for grabs.”
Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“A beautifully written, slyly profound meditation on perception and reality. I relished each immersive scene, each detail. I wanted to sit and discuss with the characters their beliefs about the world. Reading it, I was torn between wanting to gobble it all up quickly or savor it over time.”
—Nicole Galland, author of I, Iago

Mary Toft is wonderful! The kind of novel that you want to read and then discuss with other readers. But then Dexter Palmer is a writer like Hilary Mantel or Kate Atkinson, able to move between genres and time periods, by virtue of the almost supernatural sympathy he is able to invoke for his characters and the sense of the worlds they inhabit.”
—Kelly Link, author of Get in Trouble
“Mary Toft; or, The Rabbit Queen is provoking in ways that reach well beyond the premise, anticipating as it does our own ‘world of ash,’ with all its spectacle, factionalism, and noise. It is vividly composed and audaciously imagined, filled with characters who do battle against a world that perceives them as strange—or who, conversely, assume strangeness as a mask in order to induce the world to see them at all. It is yet another wonder in Dexter Palmer’s cabinet of wonders.”
—Kevin Brockmeier, author of The Brief History of the Dead

Table Of Contents

Chapter I. The Exhibition of Medical Curiosities. 5
Chapter II. The Royal Touch. 27
Chapter III. A Concerned Husband. 35
Chapter IV. A Birth. 43
Chapter V. Aristotle’s Masterpiece. 53
Chapter VI. Mary’s Dream. 66
Chapter VII. Foolscap. 72
Chapter VIII. Nathanael St. André. 79
Chapter IX. Confirmation of the Preternatural. 91
Chapter X. The Seat of Imagination. 97
Chapter XI. Some Unanticipated Visitors. 107
Chapter XII. The Shearing Effect. 116
Chapter XIII. The King and the Three Impostors. 125
Chapter XIV. A Strange Celebration. 139
Chapter XV. Mary’s Soliloquy. 155
Chapter XVI. Moll Flanders. 160
Chapter XVII. Dr. Lacey’s Bagnio. 168
Chapter XVIII. A Coffee House Meeting. 180
Chapter XIX. The Keepers of the Vigil. 187
Chapter XX. Sects. 196
Chapter XXI. The Proof. 205
Chapter XXII. A Principle of English Law. 209
Chapter XXIII. Leaving the Barn. 240
Chapter XXIV. Hasenpfeffer. 249
Chapter XXV. Manningham’s Plan. 258
Chapter XXVI. Transverse Presentation. 264
Chapter XXVII. Morning. 273
Chapter XXVIII. Pamphlets. 277
Chapter XXIX. Zachary and Anne. 287
Chapter XXX. John Howard Returns. 293
Chapter XXXI. Bridewell Prison. 300
Acknowledgments 313
Bibliography 315

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