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Publisher's Summary

A "gorgeous, thoughtful, heartbreaking" historical novel, The Cape Doctor is the story of one man’s journey from penniless Irish girl to one of most celebrated and accomplished figures of his time (Lauren Fox, New York Times best-selling author of Send for Me).

Beginning in Cork, Ireland, the novel recounts Perry’s journey from daughter to son in order to enter medical school and provide for family, but Perry soon embraced the newfound freedom of living life as a man. From brilliant medical student in Edinburgh and London to eligible bachelor and quick-tempered physician in Cape Town, Dr. Perry thrived. When he 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.

E. J. Levy’s enthralling novel, inspired by the life of Dr. James Miranda Barry, brings this captivating character vividly alive.

©2021 E. J. Levy (P)2021 Little, Brown & Company

Critic Reviews

"Levy has done an absolutely superb job of novelizing Barry’s life while her realization of him as a character is flawless. He is brilliant, impetuous, unafraid (perhaps foolishly) of making enemies in a good cause, an ardent supporter of women’s rights and an equally ardent enemy of slavery.... And the book is beautifully written." (Booklist, starred review)

"An elegant and provocative spin on the life of trans icon James Miranda Barry.... Perry’s narration brims with fascinating details about medicine and social mores of the time. This beautifully written work will spark much debate."(Publishers Weekly)

“E.J. Levy’s compelling novel The Cape Doctor, born at the intersection of history and imagination, powerfully examines the fluidity and complexity of gender. Levy offers a profound meditation on identity, loneliness, and love. The Cape Doctor provides everything I come to a novel hoping for - graceful prose, first-rate storytelling, and an irresistible protagonist observed with deep compassion. I admired and adored this book.” (Lori Ostlund, author of After the Parade)

What listeners say about The Cape Doctor

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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Absolutely adored this story - beautifully written

Audible Review- WOW, this book will be going to the top of my best books read list. I absolutely adored this story. The writing is beautiful, poetic, descriptive and most importantly, lovely, just plain lovely. I will be re-reading this story just because I want to, not because I missed anything. I can’t count the times I would backup my listening just to repeat what had been said. I was swept into this book, rarely does a story envelope me so much.
The main love story is so touching, I only wish I had felt that type of deep love in my life. The thought processes of James about death and how the body tells our story will be remembered for the rest of my life. 5 stars is not high enough for this one. And the narrator, she made this a masterpiece.
My opinion is, if you read one book this year, make it this one.

31 people found this helpful

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remarkable

A wonderful story of love, loss and triumph. this narrator was on of the best I've listened to

16 people found this helpful

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Loved it!

Narrator’s accents are wonderful! Reveals the drama that Dr. Perry must have experienced. Vivid writing

13 people found this helpful

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Entertaining, educational, & de ja vu for Capetown

At first, I found the book a little interesting but not grabbing, until the story moved to the Cape, and the story became more complex. The challenges that Dr. Perry had to overcome were daunting. She had a strong character and she was able to voice her beliefs that she could not have done as a man. There are real women of yore who also assumed a man's likeness, so this book gave a good idea of what they endured.

Having spent some time in Capetown, reading a little of what it was like in the 1800s was a particular enjoyment.

11 people found this helpful

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Historical Read

I loved Infamous by E. J. Levy. ,, Story is good! put on TBR.

5 people found this helpful

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Language and wit

The language and English wit is delightful. This story celebrates the intelligence and emotion of living a passionate life.

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Incredible story

Loosely based on the life of Dr. James Barry. An incredible story with heart and intrigue. I highly recommend.

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The cape doctor

This book was unputdownable & I recommend, highly! The writing, narration, perfect. I felt transported to the era.
The author did research & this book is proof. I will plan to listen to other books by this author !

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This is a fictional account of a real person’s life.

I think it is sad that the author created a life for this courageous woman and talented Doctor by using what was scandalous and unknown. It is bothersome that some will think this book is t fiction because it is based on the life of a real person. The narrator, however, was very good.

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Hmmmmmm...

Where do I begin? The premise of this novel was certainly very intriguing - a woman posing as a man in order to attend university to become a physician. It's not a totally new concept but it was rare in those days and thus sounded very interesting.

The reason I rated this story so poorly is that nothing of significance really happened. The book was mostly dialogue and much of the discourse was not all that interesting. No spoilers but the few things that happened were quite mundane. I struggled to finish the book. I did so but with a lot of pauses in between as it didn't really hold my interest.

The one outstanding feature of this audiobook was the narration. It was fantastic! I think the narrator's ability to use authentic-sounding accents and inflections in her voice was what allowed me to finish this novel.

I am puzzled by all the wonderful reviews and I'm now second guessing whether my boredom made my mind wander and possibly made me miss a lot of this story. I'm a bit conflicted about my assessment of this novel but I'm still giving it a thumbs down.