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July Round Up

Monthly Mini Review

Photo-realistic colour illustration of Victorian types doing surgeryThe Butchering Art by Lindsey Fitzharris, narrated by Sam Woolf – A I listen to the Noble Blood podcast (recommend!) and recently, host Dana Schwarz interviewed Lindsey Fitzharris about her new book, The Facemaker (also on my TBL). She mentioned her debut (The Butchering Art) and I decided to start there as I’ve long had an interest in non-fiction about the history of science, disease and medicine. The Butchering Art tells the story of Joseph Lister, the Victorian surgeon who introduced antiseptic techniques to surgery and saved countless lives by doing so. At seven and a half hours, it is not an exhaustive biography, nor is it intended to be. Rather, as the author said in her recent interview, she distills the information so the finished product reads like narrative fiction. This book was infinitely interesting to me. I was hooked from the start and stayed that way; I was not bored for a single second. In fact, if anything, I was left wanting more.

The narration is excellent. Mr. Woolf gives character voices to speakers just like in narrative fiction and delivers the story with similar tone and expression. The combination of story and narration was a perfect pairing. It’s all true and it’s all fascinating.

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