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Room by Emma Donoghue
10:23am Thursday 17th February 2011 in Book Group
EMMA Donaghue’s Room, this month’s Book Group selection, is a book that will stay with you long after you’ve turned the last page and make you see the world from a different perspective.
Five-year-old Jack lives with Ma in a locked room, 11ft square, with no windows, just Skylight. Room is the only world Jack has ever known, but as he turns five, Ma begins the ‘unlying’ and reveals to Jack that there is such a place as Outside and that she, too, has a mother and was once a child. But while Room is a prison to Ma, to Jack it is security – home.
The power of Ma’s love has ensured that Jack is unaware, at least consciously, of the truth of their situation, bundling him into Wardrobe after nine at night when the ‘beep beep’ of Door signals Old Nick’s arrival.
Inside Wardrobe, Jack counters his anxiety by counting the creaks of Bed and his own teeth.
Then Ma comes up with a plan to get them out of Room...
Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize last year, Room is a remarkable achievement, told as it is entirely from Jack’s point of view.
The necessarily restricted view of that perspective makes the horror of Ma and Jack’s situation far more profound than it would have been told by, say, Ma, or a disembodied narrator, because Jack doesn’t know what the ‘beep beep’ of Door really means, nor what the creaks of Bed signify.
The screaming game that Ma and he play after lunch most days is nothing more than a game to Jack, and Ma’s flashing on and off of the light in the middle of the night is just one of her idiosyncracies. Jack knows that the only things that are real are him and Ma and Room, until the ‘unlying’ starts.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
EMMA Donoghue was born in Dublin in 1969, the youngest of eight children.
Her father is the academic literary critic Denis Donoghue, and she has a first-class honours degree in English and French – “without learning to speak French” – from University College Dublin and a PhD in English from the University of Cambridge. Her thesis was on friendship between men and women in 18th century fiction.In 1998 she moved to Canada, where she lives in London, Ontario with her partner and their two children.
Her first novel was 1994’s Stir Fry, followed in 1995 by Hood, another contemporary story, this time about an Irish woman coming to terms with the death of her girlfriend.
Room, shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, was awarded the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize and was the winner of the Irish Book Award 2010.
HOW TO ORDER
Offer price £7.49 with free post and packing. Call the Hereford Times Bookshop on 08430 6000399 or send your cheque or postal order made payable to Hereford Times Bookshop to: Hereford Times Bookshop, PO Box 60, Helston, TR13 0TP.
Allow seven-10 working days for delivery. Titles supplied subject to availability. Or order online at sparkledirect.com.