Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Review: Astray by Emma Donoghue

Title: Astray
Author: Emma Donoghue
Format: Hardcover
Publisher: Little, Brown, and Company
Publish Date: October 30, 2012
Source: I received a copy from the publisher; however, this did not affect my review.

Why You're Reading This Book:

  • You're a fiction fan.
  • You like short stories.
  • You're a Historical Fiction fan.
What's the Story?:

From "The fascinating characters that roam across the pages of Emma Donoghue's stories have all gone astray: they are emigrants, runaways, drifters, lovers old and new. They are gold miners and counterfeiters, attorneys and slaves. They cross other borders too: those of race, law, sex, and sanity. They travel for love or money, incognito or under duress.

With rich historical detail, the celebrated author of Room takes us from puritan Massachusetts to revolutionary New Jersey, antebellum Louisiana to the Toronto highway, lighting up four centuries of wanderings that have profound echoes in the present. Astray offers us a surprising and moving history for restless times."

My Two Cents:

I was really excited for this book! Donoghue's "Room" was one of my favorite reads last year so when I heard that Donoghue's Astray was coming out, I knew that I had to read this book. Now short stories are not usually my favorite but because of the writing in "Room," I gave this book a shot. I was definitely pleased and I know that in the future, Emma Donoghue will continue to be on my must read. Now to go back and read her backlist...

This book is all about journeys of all different kinds. The stories take place across all different times and different places. What I found really interesting is that after each story, there is a small sort of "afterword" about where Donoghue found the inspiration to write each different story. I often find myself wondering where authors come up with their stories so I loved each of these "afterwords." Perhaps even more interesting is that most of the stories are rooted in non-fiction stories.

The writing that drew me in to "Room" was still present in "Astray" but this is a very different book. I liked some of the stories better than others. All of the stories are very different from each other and there are not really any connections between them other than the theme of journeys. I wish there had been more ties between the different stories. One of the most interesting to me was about a woman who is forced to give up her daughter due to really terrible life circumstances. Her daughter goes to the orphanage and then on one of the orphan trains that were so popular long ago. The mother keeps up a correspondence with the people who ran the orphanage to try to get news about her daughter throughout her life to no avail. It was very sad!

Bottom line: Good writing!



  1. I have Room on my wishlist. I would like to get to it eventually. I'm not a fan of short stories either, but sometimes it really works.

  2. The afterword sounds really interesting! I like that. I'll definitely have to read this. I don't always do well with short stories, but I do like Emma Donaghue. I recommend reading Slammerkin!! It's been a long time since I read it so it's possible my thoughts would be different now, but I loved it when I first read it!

  3. This sounds like a book I would enjoy. Thanks for the review!


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