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Donoghue, Emma

Book - 2012
Average Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5.
A collection of short stories featuring a cross-section of society including runaways, drifters, gold miners, counterfeiters, attorneys, and slaves from Puritan Massachusetts and revolutionary New Jersey to antebellum Louisiana.

Publisher: New York : Little, Brown and Co., 2012
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 0316206296
Characteristics: x, 275 p. ;,22 cm


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Mar 02, 2015
  • empbee rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

An excellent collection of short stories. Great style. Very well presented. I would like more.

May 21, 2014
  • sooke642 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.


Jun 14, 2013
  • maven rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

Just ok. Some of the stories were interesting, others not so much. The writing felt flat at times, like it was just on the surface of the story or of a real emotion.

Feb 23, 2013
  • abkeller rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Readers will really enjoy this marvelous collection of uniquely wonderful short stories. These are pages from our past, providing images as strikingly real as nearly freezing to death in the frozen wilderness. We are asked to view the lives of the trainer of Jumbo, the magnificent elephant who claimed the attention of a nation and that of a desperate mother, struggling to locate the daughter she sent west on one of the orphan trains.
Ms. Donoghue writes with compassion and grit, masterfully plunging the reader into the hearts of each character she describes. This is quite an endeavor considering the broad range of subjects and the number of characters involved. Perfect for middle school, high school children and adults who wish to embrace the past.

Jan 25, 2013
  • AureliaReads rated this: 2.5 stars out of 5.

First time coming across this author. Found the concept intriguing but after 4 or 5 stories it felt like reading a practice book of exercises for someone who wants to become a short story writer.
I gave her a half star extra for bringing parts of Canadian history to life but would not recommend this book.

Jan 10, 2013
  • ownedbydoxies rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Taking news stories from decades past, sometimes just a hint of a story, the author weaves a short fiction around each. Striking work.

Jan 07, 2013
  • GummiGirl rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

A wonderful collection, in which the author brings her characters, and their times, vividly to life.

Dec 05, 2012
  • rowanquincy rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

well written, but so gloomy that I didn't really enjoy this book.

Nov 11, 2012
  • ksoles rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Each story in Emma Donoghue’s new collection has roots in fact: the trouble caused by a paranoid settler in 17th-century Cape Cod; the gruelling Yukon winter of 1896, which broke the spirits of so many prospectors; the enduring love between two women artists in a 1960s Ontario care-home. Readers first meet a London zookeeper in 1882, distraught over the transfer of his favourite elephant to America. We later read the love-letters of a young mother, sailing from Ireland to Canada to meet her husband, who will be dead of cholera before she arrives. In 1860s Texas, a slave plans a reckless break for freedom and takes his master’s wife with him. In New Jersey City, a decade later, a destitute girl gives up her baby for adoption, as we are told a quarter of a million hungry American families had to do.

Every tale elaborates a physical or emotional departure from an unliveable life. Donoghue ingeniously ends each story not with a pivotal incident from her vivid fiction, but rather with an authorial postscript detailing the facts of the matter. An informative and witty Afterword further details Donoghue's research and bears reading even before beginning the collection.

Ultimately, "Astray" does present hope. It shows the talent of a writer for whom every life has its shining moments despite the dark truths told alongside them.

Sep 25, 2012
  • SPL_Laura rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

Absolutely loved this compilation of short stories from one of my favourite authors of all time. Note: read the afterword, probably one of the best parts of the book. At first I thought the stories weren't flowing as well as usual but the more I read the more I fell in tune with Donoghue's writing and the similarities between characters. I kept bringing each historical narrative home by thinking of away, astray, and what that meant to those characters, that place, at that time.

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app03 Version ofelia Last updated 2015/03/23 12:01