Sunday, March 10, 2013

BOOK: Astray by Emma Donoghue

Astray by Emma Donoghue, 280 pages

Canadian Book Challenge (Donoghue is living in Canada, but is herself an immigrant from Ireland)

The mark of a talented writer is one who writes in very different styles and keeps the reader interested. Donoghue of Room fame, also writes historical fiction (The Sealed Letter) and now short stories, Astray. Although I guess this is still historical fiction, and like The Sealed Letter, each story is based on a true incident.

The concept of each story is part of what makes this a fun read. After each story, there is a note, which explains from where Donoghue was inspired - a single sentence in a newspaper article, Charles Dickens' letters, London Times articles, or even published memoirs or biographies. Waiting to see what part might be real, or how Donoghue teased out a fictional account of real people made each story even better. Then, the overarching theme of 'astray', geographically or morally, of immigrants coming or going, connects the stories furthur. Fans of historical fiction and short stories should investigate this collection.

sidenote: I am averaging one Canadian authored short story collection a month in 2013. Kinda weird.
January - Whirl Away by Russell Wangersky
February - Dressing Up for the Carnival by Carol Shields
March -  Astray by Emma Donoghue
Putting some pressure on me for April, aren't you Alice Munro?

Astray is also (favourably) reviewed: Joy at thoughts of joy; karen at morsie reads; carrie at nomadreader;