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Ingenious Pain has ratings and reviews. Agnieszka said: James Dyer is dangerous man. He's dangerous because he does not care. And such people .
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This classic plot line gives Miller a chance to focus on the meaning of what happens to the main character, James Dyer, whose adventures dramatize how he changes from someone who feels nothing to someone who feels everything. The time line in the novel begins in , when Dyer is born, and ends in , when he dies, with the latter event first in the story. He makes no sound when he is born; in fact, he does not talk until he is eleven years old. His blue eyes are uncommon to the family, and he displays no warmth to his siblings or to his peers in school, only curiosity about how things work.

He also shows no sign that he knows what pain is, he never gets sick, and all his cuts and welts heal unusually fast. In the summer of , Marley Gummer, a wandering swindler, appears, and Dyer, trying to fly, falls from a tree and breaks his leg.


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As though Dyer leaves it behind when he himself leaves, an epidemic of smallpox breaks out in the village. He also praises the pacing of the novel; and draws comparison to John Fowles 's novel The French Lieutenant's Woman ; Graham Swift 's Waterland ; and Peter Ackroyd 's "early flamboyant historical pastiches. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Ingenious Pain First edition. Retrieved 1 December Archived from the original on 27 September Archived from the original on 11 October Works by Andrew Miller. Einige Szenen vermitteln wirklich die Stimmung eines Caravaggio.

Nicht alle Fragen werden am Ende beantwortet. Und ist ein Arzt besser, wenn er emotionslos arbeitet? Muss er das vielleicht sogar? Wie sieht ein gutes Leben am Ende aus? View all 7 comments. Jun 29, James Rye rated it did not like it. This isn't technically a review, because I'm afraid I abandoned the book about a third of the way through. I just couldn't finish it.

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I bought it on the strength of the author's novel "Pure" which I thoroughly enjoyed, and which fascinated me on a intellectual level and moved me emotionally. There was a main character I could identify with and a plot that had tension. For me, both of those were missing from this book.

Ingenious Pain

This book has won prizes. I can see that it does have beautiful prose, but I wa This isn't technically a review, because I'm afraid I abandoned the book about a third of the way through. I can see that it does have beautiful prose, but I wanted something more. I can see too that it does portray aspects of C18th life, and for some, that may be interest enough. For me, neither of these aspects can compensate for a non-compelling story. I can see that if you take the book as a whole which I can't, but I've read the reviews so I know how it ends there is a major degree of development in the character and plot towards the end - but, there wasn't enough plot in the foreground to keep me reading and I got bored waiting.

Apart from the flatness of the story, I have problems with the main character.

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He is conceived in a strange way. His strangeness is stated, but never explained at least, in the parts I managed to read. I was unwilling to accept this. I wanted more convincing. And I can see that the character's emotional isolation and lack of engagement may have been a deliberate ploy on behalf of the author to reflect his separation from the society around him - but it also had the effect of me being able to keep him at arms' length.

Without a gripping plot I was content to leave the C18th detail, and the beautiful prose, and let him be. Sep 17, Elizabeth Baines rated it really liked it. I loved this book when I first read it a few years ago but reading it again found that I hadn't remembered it as well as I thought - I'd really only remembered the basic concept and not the picaresque story which makes up most of the novel. So I'm rather more dubious about it now, feeling that its 'high concept' is merely illustrated rather than developed. It's a great read, though, moving, and a vivid and authentic-seeming depiction of the atmosphere and language of eighteenth-century England.

My reading group discussed it and you can read our discussion here: Feb 06, Mai Mostafa rated it it was amazing. One of the books that inspired me the most. I was a little disappointed at first, because I wanted more out of it. But then I realized that what I love the most about that book is that I long for more of it.

Ingenious Pain Summary

Oct 31, Peter Fogtdal rated it it was amazing Recommended to Peter by: I found it in a hotel in Thailand! Ingenious Pain is one of the best historical novels I ever read. It's the first work of British writer Andrew Miller. And what a first novel. James Dyer as the hero of the book is a little hard to feel sympathy for. Probably this is due to the coldness of his character, hard to like someone with little emotion.


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  • The story of his life however is interesting, from his birth to him travelling to Russia to innoculate Catherine the Great. Nov 15, Book Concierge rated it it was ok Shelves: He quietly observes and forms his view of the world, skewed by his inability to feel any pain — physical or emotional. Eventually, he becomes a celebrated surgeon an In James Dyer is born to an impoverished family in the small English village of Blind Yeo.

    Eventually, he becomes a celebrated surgeon and is one of a handful chosen to race to the side of the Empress of Russia to inoculate her against smallpox. Along the way he meets Mary, a woman with apparent magical powers, and he discovers the realm of human emotion, from joy to suffering. What an odd book. There is some glorious writing within the text but I felt as disconnected from James as he is made out to be from the rest of the world. Still, I was intrigued and interested in the story from the outset, but the author lost me in Part the Sixth and the last eighty pages were read with little comprehension.

    I can define every word used but have no idea what I just read. My F2F book club had a spirited discussion of the book, but basically all felt the same way I did: Feb 23, Roz Morris rated it really liked it. I really liked this - up to a point. Around the middle, it takes a turn that I feel spoils it. Moreover, I suspect that this turn was suggested by an editor as it suddenly seems to become a different kind of book - and not in a good way.

    It looks as though it's been twisted to include redemption and it doesn't work.

    Ingenious Pain

    Not that redemption couldn't work in a novel like this, but here it seems unconvincing. Maybe for other readers, this is its masterstroke. I won't say too much about it because I'd be I really liked this - up to a point. I won't say too much about it because I'd be curious to see if others had this problem or if I am massively outnumbered by the folks shouting 'genius'. That's not to say this book is bad.

    Ingenious Pain - Wikipedia

    Not by any means. The language is beautiful. The idea is riveting. The structure is used cleverly. I'll happily go along with Andrew Miller's prose because of the original, sensitive mind that powers it. But as I read I couldn't help but think of Patrick Suskind's Perfume, which took a similar idea and had the courage to see it through to a more interesting conclusion. Certainly worth a read, though. In spite of my comments here, I did like it a lot. View all 5 comments.

    Imagine how disappointed I was when 'Ingenious Pain' kind of bottomed out for me. The story was just OK and while the characterization was interesting, it wasn't strong enough. James Dyer is born with no ability to feel pain after his mother is 'raped' by a stranger. Various and sundry events happen to his family that are very terrible and James is left to his own devices. At first, he is used to sel 'Pure', which I read earlier this year, is my favorite book for so far.

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    At first, he is used to sell a shyster's brew and then he is kidnapped to join a living collection of oddities. He's re-kidnapped back, forced to join the Royal Navy and develops his fine skills to become a Dr. And so on and so forth. I never felt connected to James in any real way. At certain turns he isn't a very likeable fellow at all.

    And without another character to hang on to as a sympathetic protagonist, the story really fell flat. After this I may try another by Mr Miller, but for now I'm put off. Better to reread 'Pure' again, I think. Apr 16, Anna Mazzola rated it it was amazing. As with all the best books, I felt slightly changed at the end of it. As though I'd learnt something. Feb 07, Steve rated it liked it. Tells the story of James Dyer, born in 18th century rural England, who is unable to feel pain. Exploited first by a travelling showman, then by the doctor who rescues him, he becomes a successful if unlikeable doctor, apparently lacking a soul.

    The story is interesting and well told, but ultimately seemed to me as empty as the main character. Not to mention that someone unable to feel pain would hardly have survived the limited hygeine of the period beyond his earliest years. But that's a quibbl Tells the story of James Dyer, born in 18th century rural England, who is unable to feel pain.