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Fierce Appetites by Elizabeth Boyle
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Fierce Appetites

Loving, losing and living to excess in my present and in the writings of the past
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Narrator Elizabeth Boyle

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Length 7 hours 50 minutes
Language English
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Brought to you by Penguin.

Every day a beloved father dies. Every day a lover departs. Every day a woman turns forty.

All three happening together brings a moment of reckoning.

Medieval historian Elizabeth Boyle made sense of these events the best way she knew how - by immersing herself in the literature that has been her first love and life's work for over two decades.

Fierce Appetites is the exhilarating and deeply humane result. Not only does Elizabeth Boyle write dazzling accounts of ancient stories, familiar and obscure, from Ireland and further afield, but she uses her historical learning to grapple with the raw and urgent questions she faces, questions that have bedevilled people in every age. She writes on grief, addiction, family breakdown, the complexities of motherhood, love and sex, memory, class, education, travel (and staying put) with unflinching honesty, deep compassion and occasional dark humour.

Fierce Appetites is captivating and original - as an insight into the mind and heart of a groundbreaking scholar, and as a wise and reassuring account of what it is to be human.

'Irreverent, capacious and constantly surprising' Hilary Mantel

'I loved this luminous, radical book about bodies in time. It is a deeply personal history, that simultaneously brings medieval myth and poetry to breathing, bleeding life. An education for the mind and the heart' Clare Pollard

'An eloquent plea for the value of curiosity and the life of the mind, standing up the robustness of scholarship against the frailty of individuals, the resilience of myth against brittle daily preoccupations. It's an agile story, irreverent, capacious and constantly surprising: like nothing else you will read' Hilary Mantel

ยฉ Elizabeth Boyle 2022 (P) Penguin Audio 2022

Elizabeth Boyle was born in Dublin, grew up in Suffolk and returned to live in Dublin in 2013. She is a medieval historian specialising in the intellectual, literary and religious culture of Ireland and Britain. A former Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at the University of Cambridge, she now works in the Department of Early Irish at Maynooth University, where she was Head of Department for five years until 2020. Fierce Appetites is her debut book.

Elizabeth Boyle was born in Dublin, grew up in Suffolk and returned to live in Dublin in 2013. She is a medieval historian specialising in the intellectual, literary and religious culture of Ireland and Britain. A former Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at the University of Cambridge, she now works in the Department of Early Irish at Maynooth University, where she was Head of Department for five years until 2020. Fierce Appetites is her debut book.

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Reviews

A book of blazing honesty that allows all the gorgeous complexity of the past into our messy present to remind us we've always been like this All twelve essays are freighted with that fierceness the title trumpets This book is extraordinary . . . a wonderful work of women's memoir Pure nectar for the imagination, and it's my book of 2022 An eloquent plea for the value of curiosity and the life of the mind, standing up the robustness of scholarship against the frailty of individuals, the resilience of myth against brittle daily preoccupations. It's an agile story, irreverent, capacious and constantly surprising: like nothing else you will read I loved this luminous, radical book about bodies in time. It is a deeply personal history, that simultaneously brings medieval myth and poetry to breathing, bleeding life. An education for the mind and the heart Highly original . . . engagingly candid [and] thought-provoking Bracingly honest, fiery, funny, scholarly, Fierce Appetites really is a wildly good book Everything is illuminated, magnified, revisioned: sexual desire, motherhood, family. Her writing is unorthodox, unnerving, and very exciting An outstanding achievement. Fierce Appetites defies easy categorization, is brilliantly written and simply deserves to be read I absolutely loved this utterly original book. Immersing myself in Elizabeth Boyle's considerable brain was a true privilege, and the way she uses medieval narratives to unpick her own present was endlessly surprising and beautiful. I read it in two sittings, devouring her perspective on life, love, loss [A] marvellous, astonishing, funny, moving, wise, reflective, deeply scholarly, fascinating book Extremely intriguing . . . I found myself completely absorbed. Fascinating Unusual, arresting and genuinely enriching Fiercely smart, strange, surprising Boyle has the skill to move us between the raw and the refined, the mind and the body, the past and the present, the mundane and the marvellous without ever losing control of her dark materials I just love it Really REALLY good Just as brilliant and hard to define as everyone says it is. You should read it. You will both learn things and be entertained An astounding piece of writing Expand reviews
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