When it comes to the literary world, Emma Donoghue is known for moving easily between genres. She has written novels of historical fiction and stories exploring lesbian relationships, but Room is a departure for her. This claustrophobic story of Ma and Jack’s captivity in an 11-by-11-foot room is written from Jack’s perspective, and Donoghue’s use of language creates a vivid picture that is both terrifying and heartbreaking, even as it captures the spirit of childhood optimism.
The book has topped bestseller lists around the globe, and was named to a number of “Best Books of 2010” lists. The New York Times and the Washington Post included it on their respective lists, and the novel was also a finalist for the Man Booker Prize. The film version of the book won an Academy Award for Best Actress for Brie Larson, and Donoghue wrote the screenplay.
Room reflects the fascination that modern culture has with stories of abduction, abuse, and escape. It also offers a pointed critique of contemporary culture’s voyeuristic obsession with these kinds of tales. This is a difficult novel to read, but it is a book that should not be missed.
The book focuses on the relationship between Ma and Jack, but there is a larger theme that is addressed as well. Loneliness is a key aspect of the story, both for Ma and Jack. Ma has had her family and friends ripped out of her life, and Jack has never seen the outside world.
In addition to the obvious theme of isolation, Donoghue explores themes of love and attachment. Ma loves her son more than anything in the world, and she is willing to sacrifice herself for him. She is also a very strong woman, willing to go to almost any lengths to protect her son.
Donoghue is a great writer, and she has created a character that is both sympathetic and horrifying. Readers will be drawn into the story of Ma and Jack, and they will want to find out what happens next. This is a powerful story that will remain with readers for years to come.
Born in Dublin, Ireland, in 1969, Donoghue studied at Cambridge University, earning a PhD in eighteenth-century literature. She is the author of several novels and numerous short stories, as well as writing for radio, stage, and television. She lives in London, Ontario, Canada, with her partner and their two children. She has dual Irish and Canadian citizenship. Her work has been translated into more than thirty languages. She has won a Hughes & Hughes Irish Novel of the Year Award, the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, and the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Fiction (Canada and the Caribbean). She is also the author of a memoir and several nonfiction books. She is a professor of English at the University of Western Ontario. In 2012, she was awarded a Literary Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. She is currently working on her next novel.