At the turn of the nineteenth century, ten-year-old James Miranda
Barry enrolled as a medical student in Edinburgh, the start of a
glorious career as a military surgeon. Across the Empire, Barry achieved
fame not only as a brilliant physician, but also a legendary duellist
and a celebrated social figure. But James Miranda Barry was also a
woman. Her greatest achievement of all had been to 'pass' for a man for
more than fifty years.
Patricia Duncker's novel tells
Barry's story for the first time, in a richly inventive and entertaining
tale of dark family secrets, adultery, questioned paternity and
colonial history. It confirms her rare talent as a writer of profound
ideas and immense storytelling power.
Patricia Duncker is the author of four previous novels: Hallucinating Foucault (winner of the Dillons First Fiction Award and the McKitterick Prize in 1996), The Deadly Space Between, James Miranda Barry and Miss Webster and Cherif (shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers' Prize in 2007). She has written two books of short fiction, Monsieur Shoushana's Lemon Trees (shortlisted for the Macmillan Silver Pen Award in 1997) and Seven Tales of Sex and Death, and a collection of essays on writing and contemporary literature, Writing on the Wall. She is Professor of Contemporary Literature at the University of Manchester. Her most recent novel, The Strange Case of the Composer and His Judge, has been shortlisted for the Best Crime Novel of the Year (CWA Gold Dagger).