The Wonder by Emma Donoghue review – a thrilling domestic psychodrama

Emma Donoghue will probably always be best known for her 2010 bestseller Room, a child’s-eye view of confinement and escape prompted by the horrific Josef Fritzl case in Austria, which she adapted for the screen last year. More commonly, though, she reaches further back into the historical archive for inspiration, breathing imaginative life into biographical […]

My hero: Anne Lister by Emma Donoghue

She also had the sexual ethics of a bonobo, lying to every lover as a matter of policy. Why is Lister my hero, then? Because she looked into her heart and wrote about what she found there with unflinching precision. “I love and only love the fairer sex and thus beloved by them in turn, […]

The Pull of the Stars by Emma Donoghue review – beauty amid horror

As anyone who has read Donoghue’s internationally bestselling novel Room – inspired by the grotesque Josef Fritzl case – will know, she is quick to draw the reader in. After only four short sentences, we can already smell the “dung and blood” of the Dublin streets as nurse Julia Power cycles to work at an […]

Emma Donoghue: ‘To say Room is based on the Josef Fritzl case is too strong’

But while for us (and Ma) such an existence is horrifying, for Jack it simply is. Lacking any other frame of reference, his Room is neither small nor, in any psychological sense, a prison. Its objects, which he names as friends – Plant, Skylight, Rug – swell in our minds, too, assuming far greater proportions […]

Book World: Donoghue’s tale reads like thriller, set in 1918 pandemic

Set at a Dublin hospital in the grip of the 1918 flu pandemic, Emma Donoghue’s 11th novel, “The Pull of the Stars,” grimly foreshadows present-day circumstances. “If In Doubt, Don’t Stir Out” warn posters affixed to streetlamps; overwhelmed hospital staff are bedding patients on the floor, and stores have run out of disinfectant. Yet the […]

Emma Donoghue: ‘Wooster’s sweetly foolish flippancy is just the tonic for Covid-19 times’

The last book that made me cryHamnet by Maggie O’Farrell. I’m highly resistant to books marketed by hooks to more famous books/authors/historical figures, so I picked this one up in a cynical spirit because of the Shakespeare thing … but its dramatisation of a boy’s death broke my heart.

Emily Dickinson’s Mysterious ‘You’

Emma Donoghue is the author of five story collections and eight other novels, including Room (2010), which was shortlisted for the Man Booker prize and adapted, with a screenplay by the author, into last year’s Academy Award-winning film. A Cambridge PhD, her monograph Inseparable: Desire Between Women in Literature won the Stonewall Book Award from […]

Book World: July paperback releases: 14 books worth reading

Taddeo’s nonfiction bestseller examines the sex lives of a trio of women, including a 20-something reevaluating a relationship with her high school teacher years earlier and a married mother of two in the midst of an affair.

Aminatta Forna wins Commonwealth writers’ prize

“We have had 20 very difficult years in Sierra Leone, so first of all in terms of making my country proud, I think the win is important, but second the whole book is really about trying to bring some peace to the country, laying to rest some of the things that have happened in the […]

How Will Covid Be Remembered?

The task couldn’t have fallen to a better-qualified artist. In a previous novel, Room (2010), Donoghue examined the relationship between a mother and her child who live in what is essentially a 3-meter-square prison cell. “I wanted to focus on how a woman could create normal love in a box,” she told a visiting journalist […]