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  • Writer's pictureLilac Mills

Room by Emma Donoghue


Jack is five. He lives with his Ma. They live in a single, locked room. They don't have the key.

Jack and Ma are prisoners.

Room by Emma Donoghue is an extraordinarily powerful story of a mother and child kept in isolation, and the desire for, and price of, freedom.



Okay, I was going to leave it at that, but I think you deserve a bit more. This book has been out for a few years, and I have no idea how I missed it. A friend was having a clear out and she donated it to me, with the words “just read it”.

Oh boy, this is such an unusual novel, I really don’t know where to start – the POV, for one, is inspired. The author throws the reader into Jack’s head and pins you down in it. You have no chance of getting out, you’ll simply have to let the book run its course.

Powerful, thought-provoking, captivating, beautiful, strange, odd, tragic – this book isn’t easy reading and in some places it is quite hard and slightly disturbing, but at no time did it fail to be engaging. I read it in one massive go, ignoring everyone and everything around me, and when it finally let go of me, I can feel it still there, in the back of my mind and it will be for some considerable time to come.

About the Author

Emma Donoghue is an Irish-Canadian playwright, literary historian, novelist, and screenwriter. Her 2010 novel Room was a finalist for the Man Booker Prize and an international best-seller. Donoghue's 1995 novel Hood won the Stonewall Book Award, and Slammerkin (2000) won the Ferro-Grumley Award for Lesbian Fiction. Room was adapted into a film of the same name, for which Donoghue wrote the screenplay which was subsequently nominated for the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay.

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