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3.5 

Butcher

By Joyce Carol Oates
Butcher by Joyce Carol Oates digital book - Fable

Publisher Description

From one of our most accomplished storytellers, an extraordinary and arresting novel about a women’s asylum in the nineteenth century, and a terrifying doctor who wants to change the world

In this harrowing story based on authentic historical documents, we follow the career of Dr. Silas Weir, “Father of Gyno-Psychiatry,” as he ascends from professional anonymity to national renown. Humiliated by a procedure gone terribly wrong, Weir is forced to take a position at the New Jersey Asylum for Female Lunatics, where he reigns. There, he is allowed to continue his practice, unchecked for decades, making a name for himself by focusing on women who have been neglected by the state—women he subjects to the most grotesque modes of experimentation. As he begins to establish himself as a pioneer of nineteenth-century surgery, Weir’s ambition is fueled by his obsessive fascination with a young Irish indentured servant named Brigit, who becomes not only Weir’s primary experimental subject, but also the agent of his destruction.

Narrated by Silas Weir’s eldest son, who has repudiated his father’s brutal legacy, Butcher is a unique blend of fiction and fact, a nightmare voyage through the darkest regions of the American psyche conjoined, in its startling conclusion, with unexpected romance. Once again, Joyce Carol Oates has written a spellbinding novel confirming her position as one of our celebrated American visionaries of the imagination.

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2 Reviews

3.5
“I am conflicted here. This is my first time reading Joyce Carol Oates, and I suppose my response is a testament to how great her writing I'd, because I cringed my way through this book.    Based on real events, Butcher tells the story of a nineteenth century Dr. Silas Weir and his ambition to change the world with his medical discoveries... by going unchecked for years experimenting on neglected women left in a New Jersey Asylum for Female Lunatics. A "pioneer" in "Gyno-Psychiatry", Oates leaves no detail behind and the book gets very descriptive in the torturous experiments done to these women.      Unnerving and especially when, let's be honest, the silence women STILL recieve today when it comes to medical care and rights to their own body is the real story here. This story seems long ago but at the same time, is not.     I can't say as though I could recommend this to everyone, but if you go into it knowing it's a tough road ahead, or you are a fan of Oates, maybe you'll get something out of this one.”
Thinking Face“Wow.. what a book! I can’t believe I’ve final stumbled upon the dark side of historical based fiction. Very well written and thought provoking.”
Beautifully writtenDescriptive writingAddictiveDark settingDarkHeartbreakingThought-provokingMisogyny

About Joyce Carol Oates

JOYCE CAROL OATES is a recipient of the National Humanities Medal, the National Book Critics Circle Ivan Sandrof Life Achievement Award, the National Book Award, the Jerusalem Prize for Lifetime Achievement, the Prix Femina, and the Cino Del Duca World Prize. She has been nominated several times for the Pulitzer Prize. She has written some of the most enduring fiction of our time, including the national best sellers We Were the Mulvaneys, Blonde, and the New York Times best seller The Falls. She is the Roger S. Berlind ’52 Distinguished Professor of the Humanities Emerita at Princeton University and has been a member of The American Academy of Arts and Letters since 1978.

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