Room

A Novel
By Emma Donoghue (Hardcover Book, 2010)
To five-year-old Jack, Room is the entire world. It is where he was born and grew up; it's where he lives with his Ma as they learn and read and eat and sleep and play. At night, his Ma shuts him safely in the wardrobe, where he is meant to be asleep when Old Nick visits.

Room is home to Jack, but to Ma, it is the prison where Old Nick has held her captive for seven years. Through determination, ingenuity, and fierce motherly love, Ma has created a life for Jack. But she knows it's not enough...not for her or for him. She devises a bold escape plan, one that relies on her young son's bravery and a lot of luck. What she does not realize is just how unprepared she is for the plan to actually work.

Told entirely in the language of the energetic, pragmatic five-year-old Jack, ROOM is a celebration of resilience and the limitless bond between parent and child, a brilliantly executed novel about what it means to journey from one world to another.

To five-year-old Jack, Room is the entire world. It is where he was born and grew up; it's where he lives with his Ma as they learn and read and eat and sleep and play. At night, his Ma shuts him safely in the wardrobe, where he is meant to be asleep when Old Nick visits.

Room is home to Jack, but to Ma, it is the prison where Old Nick has held her captive for seven years. Through determination, ingenuity, and fierce motherly love, Ma has created a life for Jack. But she knows it's not enough...not for her or for him. She devises a bold escape plan, one that relies on her young son's bravery and a lot of luck. What she does not realize is just how unprepared she is for the plan to actually work.

Told entirely in the language of the energetic, pragmatic five-year-old Jack, ROOM is a celebration of resilience and the limitless bond between parent and child, a brilliantly executed novel about what it means to journey from one world to another.

Born in Dublin in 1969, Emma Donoghue is an Irish emigrant twice over: she spent eight years in Cambridge doing a PhD in eighteenth-century literature before moving to London, Ontario, where she lives with her partner and their two children. She also migrates between genres, writing literary history, biography, stage and radio plays as well as fairy tales and short stories. She is best known for her novels, which range from the historical (Slammerkin, Life Mask, Landing, The Sealed Letter) to the contemporary (Stir-Fry, Hood, Landing). Her international bestseller Room was a New York Times Best Book of 2010 and was a finalist for the Man Booker, Commonwealth, and Orange Prizes. For more information, visit www.emmadonoghue.com.

  • 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).

  • "I loved Room. Such incredible imagination, and dazzling use of language. And with all this, an entirely credible, endearing little boy. It's unlike anything I've ever read before." (Anita Shreve, author of The Pilot's Wife and A Change in Altitude).

  • "Room is one of the most profoundly affecting books I've read in a long time. Jack moved me greatly. His voice, his story, his innocence, his love for Ma combine to create something very unusual and, I think, something very important. I read the book over two days, desperate to know how their story would end . . . Room deserves to reach the widest possible audience." (John Boyne, author of The Boy in the Striped Pajamas).

  • "I was gripped by Room as soon as I discerned its startling premise. It is an almost macabre and completely accomplished novel, one that places Emma Donoghue in the company of writers such as Hilary Mantel and Muriel Spark--writers who address evil in their works without flinching.  Room is, however, leavened by one of the most convincing portrayals of love I have come across in literature or in the world outside it. Room deserves a wide readership. It should inspire a dialogue among its readers about how a life--how all of our lives--can be redeemed through the telling of stories, and through ingenuity, loyalty, bravery, hope and love." (Anne Giardini, author of The Sad Truth about Happiness).

  • "Room is that rarest of entities, an entirely original work of art.  I mean it as the highest possible praise when I tell you that I can't compare it to any other book.  Suffice to say that it's potent, darkly beautiful, and revelatory." (Michael Cunningham, author of The Hours and By Nightfall).

  • "Powerful.... Seen entirely through Jack's eyes and childlike perceptions, the developments in this novel--there are enough plot twists to provide a dramatic arc of breathtaking suspense--are astonishing....  Donoghue brilliantly portrays the psyche of a child raised in captivity...will keep readers rapt." (Publishers Weekly).

  • "Talented, versatile Donoghue relates a searing tale of survival and recovery, in the voice of a five-year-old boy....  Donoghue brilliantly shows mother and son grappling with very different issues as they adjust to freedom....  In the story's most heartbreaking moments, it seems that Ma may be unable to live with the choices she made to protect Jack. But his narration reveals that she's nurtured a smart, perceptive and willful boy--odd, for sure, but resilient, and surely Ma can find that resilience in herself....  Wrenching, as befits the grim subject matter, but also tender, touching and at times unexpectedly funny." (Kirkus).

  • "What it's about: Are we defined only by our surroundings and experiences, or does individuality go deeper?  This is the question tackled in Donoghue's gutsy new novel, which follows a 5-year-old boy whose entire life has taken place within the confines of a single room.  Why we're excited: It's tricky for an author to pull off a novel with a young and deeply idiosyncratic narrator--as Mark Haddon did with The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.  But Donoghue has proved that she has the chops" (Entertainment Weekly, Fall Books Preview).

  • "a novel so disturbing that we defy you to stop thinking about it, days later....  This blend of allegory and true crime (Donoghue has said she was influenced by several recent news stories) is beautifully served by Jack's wise but innocent voice....  And while a first-person, child-narrated tale can sometimes feel like a gimmick, the enviable trick here is that Donoghue makes you want to stay with Ma and Jack, whether they're in their own private prison or out in the so-called free world." (O Magazine).

  • "Gripping, riveting, and close to the bone, this story grabs you and doesn't let go. Donoghue skillfully builds a suspenseful narrative evoking fear and hate and hope--but most of all, the triumph of a mother's ferocious love. Highly recommended for readers of popular fiction." (Library Journal ).

  • "[A] whammy of a novel." (Marie Claire).

  • "a bravura performance" (ELLE).

  • "Emma Donoghue's new novel is a tour de force.  Imagine living within the confines of a 12x12 room, the only natural light coming from a skylight, a television your only link to the outside world. That's just what Irish-Canadian novelist Emma Donoghue does in Room, a book so original and daring it recently landed on the longlist for the Man Booker Prize....  Told in the pitch-perfect voice of a five-year-old boy raised in captivity, Donoghue's stunning novel offers a unique portrait of one mother's fierce devotion. If this sounds like the stuff of tabloids, luridly sensational or gimmicky, in Donoghue's talented hands it's anything but. Told from Jack's perspective,  Room turns the usual victim/survivor story on its head, transforming it into something else entirely-a meditation on the nature of reality and a testament to the ferocity of a mother's love." (BookPage).

  • "riveting....   Such a story, such a mother! ...  Though the story's chilling circumstances reflect the horrors endured by tabloid-famous abductees, Donoghue avoids all sensationalism. Instead, she gracefully distills what it means to be a mother--and what it's like for a child whose entire world measures just 11 x 11." A- (Entertainment Weekly).

  • "Only a handful of authors have ever known how to get inside the mind of a child and then get what they know on paper. Henry James, Mark Twain, William Faulkner, and, more recently, Jean Stafford and Eric Kraft come to mind, and after that one gropes for names. But now they have company. Emma Donoghue's latest novel, Room, is narrated by a 5-year-old boy so real you could swear he was sitting right beside you....  Room is so beautifully contrived that it never once seems contrived. But be warned: once you enter, you'll be Donoghue's willing prisoner right down to the last page." (Newsweek).

  • "impressive....  Like The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, [Room] intrigues us by offering an oblique view of adult behavior filtered through the partial understanding of that child. But Donoghue does much more with the gap between Jack's limited perspective on the world and our own fallen knowledge. Room meditates on the nature and mixed blessings of love, innocence and motherhood itself." (Salon).

  • "artfully empathetic....  sophisticated in outlook and execution....Donoghue makes the gusty and difficult choice to keep the book anchored somewhere inside Jack's head....[it] never loses track of this boy's utterly plausible, vividly described thought processes." (The New York Times).

  • "one of the most affecting and subtly profound novels of the year" (The Washington Post).

  • "Emma Donoghue's Room has the makings of an unbearably tense thriller. The surprise is how much more than that it is -- gripping but also affecting and, believe it or not, sweet....  All I'll say is that I forced myself to put the book down and turn off the light at 2 a.m. Three hours later, I gave in and turned it on again." (Bloomberg News).

  • "a riveting, powerful novel....  Donoghue's inventive storytelling is flawless and absorbing. She has a fantastic ability to build tension in scenes where most of the action takes place in the 12-by-12 room where her central characters reside. Her writing has pulse-pounding sequences that cause the reader's eyes to race over the pages to find out what happens next....  Room is likely to haunt readers for days, if not longer. It is, hands down, one of the best books of the year." (The Boston Globe).

  • "remarkable....  Jack's voice is one of the pure triumphs of the novel: in him, she has invented a child narrator who is one of the most engaging in years - his voice so pervasive I could hear him chatting away during the day when I wasn't reading the book. Donoghue rearranges language to evoke the sweetness of a child's learning without making him coy or overly darling; Jack is lovable simply because he is lovable....  This is a truly memorable novel, one that can be read through myriad lenses - psychological, sociological, political. It presents an utterly unique way to talk about love, all the while giving us a fresh, expansive eye on the world in which we live." 

    (The New York Times Book Review).

  • (Publishers Weekly).

  • (Library Journal).

Product Details

Room
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
  • Price: $24.99 US
  • Pages: 336
  • Physical Dimensions: 6" x 9-1/4"
  • ISBN-13: 9780316098335
  • On Sale Date: 09/13/2010
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