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Have you read Orphans of the Carnival by Carol Birch? Post your feedback on the book by 28 October for a chance to win a £100 Love2Shop voucher!

(41 Posts)
SorchaMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 07-Sep-16 17:52:29

This month we'd like to introduce you to Carol Birch - author of award-winning, and vivid historical fiction. Find out more about her - and apply for her latest novel on the giveaway page.

Orphans of the Carnival - Carol's second book to be shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize - tells the real life story of 19th century 'incredible ape woman' Julia Pastrana, and her impact on the life of a modern-day woman. We've got 50 free copies of the book so apply for yours now.

We ask all winners to share their thoughts about the book on this discussion thread. However, you don't have to win a free copy to take part in the discussion - anyone who has read Orphans of the Carnival can post their feedback here (and you can buy the book now).

Everyone who posts on this thread before 28 October will be entered into a prize draw to win a £100 Love2shop voucher.

This giveaway is sponsored by Canongate

Clawdy Thu 08-Sep-16 11:18:59

This looks amazing - can't wait to read it. Jamrach's Menagerie was a wonderful book, and this one looks fascinating.

dalek Fri 09-Sep-16 09:11:30

The links aren't working for me.

Clawdy Sat 10-Sep-16 18:33:24

How can the give away end on the 12th of August when the thread started on the 7th of September?

SorchaMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 12-Sep-16 10:34:18

Thanks Clawdy for flagging this! This giveaway closes on 12 September (end of day today) so still time to apply. The links should also all now be working! Sorry for any inconvenience

LindseyandMatthew Fri 23-Sep-16 15:56:13

Just received this, thanks so much can't wait to read it!

Just received my copy. Thank you. It's a gorgeous looking book - looking forward to reading it.

buddles Sat 24-Sep-16 11:25:56

Received my copy yesterday which was a pleasant surprise as I wasn't aware I had won! Looking forward to starting this.

mduhig Tue 27-Sep-16 16:22:49

I have started reading this and am about 100 pages in. I absolutely love the book. The story is very original and unlike any other book I have read. I am really looking forward to seeing how it develops.....

Persistentdonor Tue 27-Sep-16 16:52:41

I have received my copy and am looking forward to starting it this week. Many thanks.

juleslucas Wed 28-Sep-16 09:12:57

Received my copy at the weekend, quickly read the Afterword which had me intrigued and have made a start, really fascinated as to how the story unfolds. Unlike anything I have read previously, thank you.

Stujobohm Sat 01-Oct-16 15:08:48

What a great read... Loved every page... And has introduced me to a different type of genre.

janx Sun 02-Oct-16 18:39:21

I really enjoyed this book - I hAdn't read anything by the author and will definitely read one of her other titles. The subject was sensitively and imaginatively handled and the pace was just right.

victria Sun 09-Oct-16 23:26:57

This is the first book I had read by Carol Birch and I will now be looking out for others. I really enjoyed the way she was inspired by a true story to write a more complete fictional history for Julia Pastrana. This was
cleverly interwoven with a story set in modern day London and a connection between the two strands which was very ingenious and I did not spot in advance. I like how Birch came up with an explanation to an unknown aspect of Julia's history and how she used this to bring her story to a satisfying ending. I very much enjoyed this, found it quite gripping, and would highly recommend it to others.

BearAusten Mon 10-Oct-16 12:59:51

An oddly moving and compelling book. This is definitely not something that I would normally find myself reading, rather pleased that I did though. It took me aback that this is a fictional background for a real person, Julia Pastrana.

lesley37 Mon 10-Oct-16 13:36:42

really enjoyed this book, not my normal genre, very moving and totally gripping.
Thanks to mumsnet for sending me this free copy.

Susangilley7 Mon 10-Oct-16 16:56:19

Received my copy of Carol Birch's Orphans of the Carnival on return from holiday. Thank you Mumsnet. Reading the blurb on the back cover it sounds intriguing. Just my sort of book. I like 'different' and I look forward to reading it.

Persistentdonor Mon 10-Oct-16 17:59:09

I am aware this is a fictional work about the daily life and thoughts of a genuine person who was born in 1834 and died after childbirth in 1860.

Partially because I found the subject matter disturbing and upsetting, I found it a struggle to finish the book; and confess I only did so from a sense of obligation, due to having won a copy in the giveaway. Had it been a library copy I may not have borrowed it in the first place, and would almost certainly have returned it unfinished.

However, I do accept that many readers would enjoy the compelling subject matter and the manner in which the author added the modern day connecting thread.

sarokaal Tue 11-Oct-16 14:06:31

I just couldn't get into this book. It was very 'literary' with crammed pages and long, long paragraphs - I felt I was going to be drowned by it. I'm sure it's hugely enjoyable to it's target market but I don't think that market is me.

starlight36 Tue 11-Oct-16 17:48:27

I really enjoyed reading this book. I agree the subject matter is a little disturbing to modern day readers but as the 'Afterword' explains the bare facts were true. I felt that the author wrote sympathetically and is a great storyteller - I'll definitely look out for more of her books. The description of the characters was very detailed and the story was quick paced. I liked the descriptive writing style and felt it set the scene well. The modern day story was intertwined brilliantly with the main plot. It is a story that I think will stay with me for a long time.

Just finished it and I'm afraid I thought it was dreadful. Totally disagree re PP that it was 'literary'. It may have had pretensions to be being so, if 'literary' is in the Kate Mosse line (ie stupidly boring, as bad as chick lit whilst pretending to be something clever).

I hated it and only finished it because it was a freebie and I had to review it. I have absolutely no idea how it was Booker shortlisted because it is very badly written and, considering that its subject matter (19th century freak shows) is right up my street, it was very dull. I thought the modern sections were pointless and dull, and the 19th century sections were interesting in terms of the subject but really badly written. A big thumbs down from me, I'm afraid.

shelaghh Thu 13-Oct-16 20:36:43

This book is outstanding- it will blow your mind. It is about man and woman's inability to recognise " that but for the grace of GOD go they "

Read on and ENJOY

Mozarmstrong Fri 14-Oct-16 17:38:49

Not really my type of book it's a well written book and many will enjoy it

boo2410 Fri 14-Oct-16 18:45:39

Firstly, thank you for sending me this book, I was really looking forward to reading it. However I have to say I was so disappointed that I didn't really enjoy it. The story was ok, but I too thought the paragraphs were way too long and it was very off putting. I did persevere until the end as I hate to only part read a book. I'm sure there are lots of people who will read it and love it but it just wasn't my cup of tea.

labradoodlemum Sun 16-Oct-16 11:53:45

Thank you so much for my copy of this fascinating book. I hadn't heard of Julia Pastrana before reading and was shocked to realise part way through when I flipped to the back that, although the story was fictional, the facts and main events were real. So shocking, disturbing and extremely sad. I loved this book. It was very different and thought provoking. I did feel as if I was reading a different book at the end though- the tone and content changed so much. I found the Rose story odd as I couldn't see how it fitted in with the main text, but I thought it was disconcertingly beautiful nevertheless. Of course when I discovered how she was linked at the end through "Tattoo" I was shocked and very saddened. I can't stop thinking about Julia and the life she led, of the cruelty of humans to those that are different, and the courage and strength that she showed in her short life.
There is a fantastic book by Alice Hoffman "The Museum of Extraordinary Things" which has a similar theme ( although not as moving because not based on a real person) that I would recommend also.

Thank you for the chance to read this interesting, uncomfortable, beautiful book.

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