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Room by Emma Donoghue

Sarah Broadhurst's view...

One of our Great Reads you may have missed in 2011.

A 2012 World Book Night selection.

Winner of the Galaxy Paperback of the Year Award 2011.

This was shortlisted for the Man Booker prize but I believed at the time it would never win for it is far too commercial. It’s about a five-year old boy who was born in captivity and knows nothing beyond the room he and his mother live in. Told in his voice it is an extraordinary achievement, very well thought out, highly intriguing and unexpectedly sad.

Shortlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction 2011.

Winner of the Orange Youth Panel Prize 2011.

Featured on The Book Show on Sky Arts on 7 April 2011.

Viewers of The TV Book Club have voted Room their favourite Spring read.

Featured on The TV Book Club on More4 on 16 Jan 2011.

Winner of the Hughes & Hughes Novel of the Year Award 2010.

Shortlisted for the Galaxy International Author of the Year 2010.

Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2010.

Comparison: Unique, like The Time Traveler’s Wife, The Lovely Bones or The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time.

If you like Emma Donoghue you might also like to read books by Daniel Clay, Ray Robinson and John Boyne.

Who is Sarah Broadhurst

The Good Book Guide logo The Good Book Guide Review. This novel was inspired by the Joseph Fritzl case, and one might reasonably assume that it would not be to everyone’s taste. The beginning is indeed deeply unsettling, as we begin to understand the horror of the 19-year-old girl who has been kept captive in a sound-proofed room for seven years and given birth to a child. But the extraordinary thing about the book is that it is narrated by the boy, now five years old, whose world consists of this box – ‘Room’ – and his mother. The whole is an strangely tender, immensely poignant and powerful exploration of the indomitability of the human spirit.
~ Fiona Lafferty


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 is a book to read in one sitting. When it's over you look up: the world looks the same but you are somehow different and that feeling lingers for days' Audrey Niffenegger 'One of the most profoundly affecting books I've read in a long time' John Boyne 'Such incredible imagination, and dazzling use of language ...Room is unlike anything I've ever read before' Anita Shreve 'Room is that rarest of entities, an entirely original work of art. I mean it as the highest possible praise when I tell you that I can't compare it to any other book. Suffice to say that it's potent, darkly beautiful, and revelatory' Michael Cunningham.


'Emma Donoghue's writing is superb alchemy, changing innocence into horror and horror into tenderness. Room is a book to read in one sitting. When it's over you look up: the world looks the same but you are somehow different and that feeling lingers for days' - Audrey Niffenegger

'Room is one of the most profoundly affecting books I've read in a long time. Jack moved me greatly. His voice, his story, his innocence, his love for Ma combine to create something very unusual and, I think, something very important ... Room deserves to reach the widest possible audience' - John Boyne

'I loved Room. Such incredible imagination, and dazzling use of language. And with all this, an entirely credible, endearing little boy. It's unlike anything I've ever read before' - Anita Shreve

This book will break your heart . . . It is the most vivid, radiant and beautiful expression of maternal love I have ever read’ Irish Times

‘Startlingly original and moving . . . Endearing and as utterly compelling as THE LOVELY BONES’ Scotsman

‘I’ve never read a more heart-burstingly, gut wrenchingly compassionate novel . . . As for sweet, bright, funny Jack, I wanted to scoop him up out of the novel and never let him go’ Daily Mail

‘This is a truly remarkable novel. It presents an utterly unique way to talk about love, all the while giving us a fresh, expansive eye on the world in which we live’ New York Times Book Review

Click here to read additional reviews..

About the Author

Emma Donoghue

Emma Donoghue was born in Ireland in 1969 and lived in England before moving to Canada. Emma writes fiction (including the bestselling Slammerkin), drama for stage and radio, and literary history; Room is her seventh novel. Some of the places she found her inspiration : Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe (1719),, Cormac McCarthy’s The Road (2006), Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s Aurora Leigh (1856), John Fowles’s The Collector (1963), Anne Frank’s Diary (1947), Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World (1932), Terminator 2 : Judgment Day (1991), The Jail Diary of Albie Sachs (1966), but above all in conversation with my five-year-old son.

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Book Info

Publication date

7th January 2011


Emma Donoghue

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Picador an imprint of Pan Macmillan


416 pages


Family Drama
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Literary Fiction
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Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)



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