Andrew Miller's extraordinarily acclaimed and prizewinning debut, featuring an 18th-century surgeon who is unable to feel pain.
The extraordinary prize-winning debut from Andrew Miller. Winner of the IMPAC Award and James Tait Black Memorial Prize.
At the dawn of the Enlightenment, James Dyer is born unable to feel pain. A source of wonder and scientific curiosity as a child, he rises through the ranks of Georgian society to become a brilliant surgeon. Yet as a human being he fails, for he can no more feel love and compassion than pain. Until, en route to St Petersburg to inoculate the Empress Catherine against smallpox, he meets his nemesis and saviour.
Set in the mid-18th century, at the dawn of the Enlightenment, and roving through England, Europe and Russia, it presents James Dyer, a man whose absence of compassion is physical: he can't feel pain . . . gripping throughout . . . a book that gives visceral pleasure - Independent on Sunday
A wild adventure through 18th-century England and Russia, medicine, madness, landscape and weather, rendered in prose of consummate beauty. - Independent Books of the Year
Miller's juxtaposition of the weirdly wonderful with the harsh reality and brutality of eighteenth-century life is a powerful vehicle for the themes he has chosen to explore . . . A dazzling debut - Observer
Dazzling . . . Miller tackles notions of mortality and humanity to brilliant effect . . . truly wonderful - Evening Standard
Astoundingly good . . . it shines like a beacon among the grey dross of much contemporary fiction - The Times
Strange, unsettling, sad, beautiful, and profound - Literary Review
A really remarkable first novel, original, powerfully written . . . Miller's narrative is gripping and his imagination extraordinary. - Sunday Telegraph
Skilfully constructed, reaching imaginative heights and emotional depths, this fine first novel explores the question of what it means to be human - The Times Literary Supplement
Andrew Miller's first novel, Ingenious Pain, was published by Sceptre in 1997 and greeted as the debut of an outstanding new writer. It won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and the Grinzane Cavour Prize for the best foreign novel published in Italy.
It has been followed by Casanova, Oxygen, which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and the Whitbread Novel of the Year Award in 2001, The Optimists, One Morning Like A Bird, Pure, which won the Costa Book of the Year Award 2011, The Crossing and Now We Shall Be Entirely Free.
Andrew Miller's novels have been published in translation in twenty countries. Born in Bristol in 1960, he currently lives in Somerset.