Akin: Sparkles with Emma Donoghue’s clear, often witty style

Emma Donoghue’s 10th novel vibrates with historical context and current social issues

Emma Donoghue: ‘Has resisted the temptation of turning formulaic.’ Photograph: Eric Luke

Emma Donoghue: ‘Has resisted the temptation of turning formulaic.’ Photograph: Eric Luke

It’s not surprising that a new Emma Donoghue title generates a particularly sonorous buzz. She’s a writer who has not only built up a long and steady body of readers as a result of her impressive canon of fiction (nine novels, five short story collections, two children’s books), but she’s achieved that wildly coveted, elusive goal – the “international best seller” and the movie. Every review of her titles published since refers to Room. Constantly.

Yet her readers don’t tend to do this, partly because they’ve already been enjoying her work for 25 years, but mostly because since her well-deserved success, she has resisted the temptation of turning formulaic and instead produced several completely different books, taking us from the music halls of the wild west in the extraordinary Frog Music, to a chilly rural Ireland in The Wonder and the realms of a politically correct family commune in The Lotterys books. For her next literary trick, she does not disappoint.

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