Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Room, by Emma Donoghue

"Emma Donoghue's writing is superb alchemy, changing innocence into horror and horror into tenderness. Room is a book to read in one sitting. When it's over you look up: the world looks the same but you are somehow different and that feeling lingers for days." --Audrey Niffenegger, author of The Time Traveler's Wife and Her Fearful Symmetry.

Harper Collins Canada has written this about Room:
To five-year-old Jack, Room is the entire world. It’s where he was born and where he and his Ma eat and play and learn. At night, Ma puts him safely to sleep in the wardrobe, in case Old Nick comes.
Room is home to Jack, but to Ma, it’s the prison where Old Nick has kept her for seven years, since she was nineteen. Through ingenuity and determination, Ma has created a life for herself and her son, but she knows it’s not enough for either of them. Jack’s curiosity is building alongside Ma’s desperation -- and Room can’t contain either of them for much longer...
Told entirely in the inventive, often funny voice of Jack, Room is a celebration of the resilient bond between parent and child, and a brilliantly executed novel about a journey from one world to another.
Donoghue states:

ROOM, by Emma Donoghue from era404 creative on Vimeo.

From her website:
Born in Dublin in 1969, Emma Donoghue is a writer of contemporary and historical fiction whose novels include the bestselling Slammerkin, The Sealed Letter, Landing, Life Mask, Hood, and Stirfry. Her story collections are The Woman Who Gave Birth to Rabbits, Kissing the Witch, and Touchy Subjects. She also writes literary history, and plays for stage and radio. She lives in London, Ontario, with her partner and their two small children. For more information, go to: www.emmadonoghue.com.
Our culture is constantly telling stories about psychos who capture women. I deliberately kept my kidnapper out of the spotlight. The more I read and thought about it, the more it seemed to me that there is no comfortably fixed moral distance between a kidnapper and the rest of us. (The existence of entire slave-owning societies reminded me that humans often find it both convenient and pleasurable to own others.) It was not Old Nick’s evil that fascinated me, but the resilience of Ma and Jack: the nitty-gritties of their survival, their trick of more or less thriving under apparently unbearable conditions.
Room is the WINNER of the 2010 Rogers Writers' Trust Award for Fiction. It was also shortlisted for the 2010 Man Booker Prize and the 2010 Governor General's Award.
 
I read Room this summer. It was such a different book from any other I've ever read. Truthfully, if someone had told me what the story was all about I would never have read it. A story with the underlying premise of an abducted woman living in a tiny room with her 5 year old son is not one I'd normally pick up. However, the story of Jack, how he sees his world, and his relationship to his mother creates a compelling tale, which Donoghue has executed masterfully.


It is a story that has stayed with me, months later, one that keeps me thinking about rereading it!

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