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The Cape Doctor: A Novel Audiobook, by E. J. Levy
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Author: E. J. Levy Narrator: Mary Jane Wells Publisher: Little, Brown & Company Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: June 2021 ISBN: 9781549153754
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The fascinating novel based on Cape Town’s renowned Dr. James Barry, born in 1795 as Margaret Anne Bulkley, an Irish girl who changed her name, lived as a man, and revolutionized medicine in the Western world

“She died, so I might live.”

Dr. James Miranda Barry was a brilliant nineteenth-century Irish physician who rose to the rank of Inspector General of military hospitals in the British colonies. Barry reformed medicine for women, slaves, and native peoples; performed the first successful caesarian in Africa; and advocated for the humane and proper treatment of leprosy; but his achievements were overshadowed by the discovery, upon his death, that the doctor was born as a woman and had carried a pregnancy late to term.

E. J. Levy’s deeply researched, enthralling novel brings this captivating character vividly alive, and shines a radiant light on Dr. Barry’s momentous, groundbreaking career and life.

Beginning in Cork, Ireland, the novel recounts Barry’s journey from daughter to son in order to enter medical school and provide for family, but Barry soon embraced his newfound freedom. From brilliant medical student in Edinburgh and London to eligible bachelor and quick-tempered physician in Cape Town, Barry thrived. When Barry befriended the aristocratic Cape governor, the doctor rose to the pinnacle of society before the two were publicly accused of a homosexual affair that scandalized the colonies and nearly cost them their lives.

The Cape Doctor is the story of Barry’s rise from penniless Irish girl to one of the most celebrated and accomplished figures of his time, a time that looks—in its technological discoveries, revolutionary fervor, battle over women’s rights, human rights, religious intolerance, and social unrest—remarkably like our own

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Quotes & Awards

  • E. J. Levy breaks open what we think we know about gender, identity, and love and shines a light on the devastating limits of each. I can’t stop thinking about this gorgeous, thoughtful, heartbreaking book.”

    Lauren Fox, New York Times bestselling author

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About the Author

E.J. Levy has been featured in Best American Essays, The New York Times, and the Paris Review, among other publications, and has received a Pushcart Prize. Her debut story collection, Love, In Theory, won the 2012 Flannery O’Connor Award and the 2014 Great Lakes Colleges Association’s New Writers Award. A graduate of Yale, she earned an MFA from Ohio State University, where she held a Presidential Fellowship; she teaches in the MFA Program at Colorado State University.

About the Narrator

Mary Jane Wells (a.k.a. McAllister Lee) is a British actress, writer, voice-over artist, and Earphones Award and Audie Award–winning narrator. A graduate of the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, she held a recurring role on the BBC’s Half Moon Investigates and narrated the BBC Three television show My Children, which won a Scottish BAFTA.