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Reviews, Praise, Blurbs

Reviews, Praise and Blurbs

Room is one of the New York Times’ Top 10 Books of 2010!

More “Best of 2010” mentions for Room:
New Yorker
St. Louis Dispatch
• Library Journal’s Top Ten Best Books of 2010

Watch Emma in a video interview on iVillage

“stunning… a remarkable examination of lives lived in captivity.”
The New Yorker

Margaret Talbot calls Room a “remarkable, tour-de-force”, Double X podcast (at minute 28:40)

CNN names Emma one of Tuesday’s “Most Intriguing People".

“Sensational, every which way....This fierce, brave, complicated young woman is one of the most memorable mothers ever crafted by a fiction writer…Donoghue's handling of the tricky narration, with its child's point of view, is brilliant…a ripping good tale.”
—Minneapolis Star Tribune

“The stars are in perfect alignment for Emma Donoghue’s new novel, Room….And the topic couldn’t be more provocative.”
—USA Today

“[An] impressive feat of literary ventriloquism…transmuted into a powerfully empathetic work of art.”

“Emma Donoghue’s Room is destined to end up on many a ‘Best Books of 2010’ list—it will definitely be on ours—for being that unique breed of novel that’s both smart and compulsively readable.”

Short listed for the 2010 Man Booker Prize

One of Amazon’s Best Picks of September

#1 Indiebound Pick for September 2010:
"Room is like no other book I have ever read. This emotionally powerful story of young Jack and his mother, held in captivity for seven years, is both a heart wrenching testament to the power of the love between a mother and child and a riveting story of overcoming horrible circumstances. Emma Donoghue has written one of those rare books that you will remember reading your entire life, as you will be altered by the experience."
—Lanora Hurley, Next Chapter Bookshop, Mequon, WI

Listen to the NPR story on the marketing campaign behind Room

“Remarkable…Jack’s voice is one of the pure triumphs of the novel: in him, [Donoghue] has invented a child narrator who is one of the most engaging in years – his voice so pervasive I could hear him chatting away during the day when I wasn’t reading the book.  Donoghue rearranges language to evoke the sweetness of a child’s learning without making him coy or overly darling; Jack is lovable simply because he is loveable.  Through dialogue and smartly crafted hints of eavesdropping, Donoghue fills us in a on Jack’s work without heavy hands or clunky exposition….A truly memorable 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.”
—Aimee Bender, cover of The New York Times Book Review

“…sophisticated in outlook and execution….Donoghue makes the gusty and difficult choice to keep the book anchored somewhere inside Jack’s head….[it] never loses track of this boy’s utterly plausible, vividly described thought processes.”
—Janet Maslin, The New York Times

Room has all kinds of emotional wallop. But what makes the emotion possible is that the book is built like a finely crafted instrument that perfectly merges art and function….Room is so beautifully contrived that it never once seems contrived. But be warned: once you enter, you’ll be Donoghue’s willing prisoner right down to the last page.”
—Malcolm Jones, Newsweek

Room meditates on the nature and mixed blessings of love, innocence and motherhood itself.”
—Laura Miller,

 “Donoghue’s Jack is precocious but entirely believable; his passage out of cloistered innocence more universal than you might think….As for Ma, parents everywhere will relate.” 
People Magazine, 3 ½ out of 4 stars, “People’s Pick”

 “Though the story's chilling circumstances reflect the horrors endured by tabloid-famous abductees, Donoghue avoids all sensationalism. Instead, she gracefully distills what it means to be a mother — and what it's like for a child whose entire world measures just 11 x 11.”
Entertainment Weekly, grade A-

“it’s impressively thorough, and the narrator’s naïveté is realistically heartbreaking….[it] has real stylistic moxie, and Donoghue’s to be praised for the strength of the narrative….The book is a triumph, a celebration of the lengths we go to for our loved ones, and the comfort in the skewed world that relationships create.”
The Oregonian

“… Seen entirely through Jack's eyes and childlike perceptions, the developments in this novel--there are enough plot twists to provide a dramatic arc of breathtaking suspense--are astonishing… And while Donoghue…brilliantly portrays the psyche of a child raised in captivity, the story's intensity cranks up dramatically when, halfway through the novel and after a nail-biting escape attempt, Jack is introduced to the outside world. While there have been several true-life stories of women and children held captive, little has been written about the pain of re-entry, and Donoghue's bravado in investigating that potentially terrifying transformation grants the novel a frightening resonance that will keep readers rapt.”
Publishers Weekly (starred)

“Talented, versatile Donoghue relates a searing tale of survival and recovery, in the voice of a five-year-old boy… Donoghue brilliantly shows mother and son grappling with very different issues as they adjust to freedom…  Wrenching, as befits the grim subject matter, but also tender, touching and at times unexpectedly funny.”
Kirkus (starred)

“…  What's amazing is how much Donoghue conveys through Jack's eyes….  The book can be sly, as in its treatment of the media's obsessive need with conjuring a telegenic narrative from messy situations. But it also succeeds at conveying the difficulty of loved ones coping with the void of a missing person and what we expect of mother-child relationships. That these emotional truths are delivered without judgment is a testament to Donoghue's ability… Room is no easy read, but it is an exemplary one - especially commended for Donoghue's ability to convey the thoughts and actions of a child in language that rings right and full of hope, more so in the face of the tragic cloud hovering over Jack's existence.”
—Sarah Weinman, Publisher’s Lunch

“What it’s about: Are we defined only by our surroundings and experiences, or does individuality go deeper?  This is the question tackled in Donoghue’s gutsy new novel, which follows a 5-year-old boy whose entire life has taken place within the confines of a single room.  Why we’re excited: It’s tricky for an author to pull off a novel with a young and deeply idiosyncratic narrator—as Mark Haddon did with The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.  But Donoghue has proved that she has the chops”
Entertainment Weekly, Fall Books Preview

“Gripping, riveting, and close to the bone, this story grabs you and doesn’t let go.  Donoghue (The Sealed Letter) skillfully builds a suspenseful narrative evoking fear and hate and hope—but most of all, the triumph of a mother’s ferocious love. Highly recommended for readers of popular fiction.” 
Library Journal, starred review

“[A] whammy of a novel…”
Marie Claire

“among this month’s three wild-and-woolly yarns from literary novelists, the laurels go to Donoghue—a bravura performance in the voice of five-year-old Jack.”
ELLE, where Room is selected for the September Reader’s Prize

“a book so original and daring….Room turns the usual victim/survivor story on its head, transforming it into something else entirely—a meditation on the nature of reality and a testament to the ferocity of a mother’s love.” 

“This is Beckett for beginners, seen through the eyes of a child with no expectation of anything else. It takes a consummate writer to make us marvel at the mundane. Beckett's Waiting for Godot did it, of course... Emma Donoghue does it so spectacularly that we are taken by surprise when, in the middle of the novel, resourceful Ma's escape plans swing into action… Donoghue's great strength -- apart from her storytelling gift -- is her emotional intelligence.”
Irish Independent

“Charming, funny, artfully constructed and at times almost unbearably moving, Donoghue mines material that on the face of it appears intractably bleak and surfaces with a powerful, compulsively readable work of fiction that defies easy categorization… Part childhood adventure story, part adult thriller, Room is above all the most vivid, radiant and beautiful expression of maternal love I have ever read. Emma Donoghue has stared into the abyss, honoured her sources and returned with the literary equivalent of a great Madonna and Child. This book will break your heart.”
Irish Times

In the hands of this audacious novelist, Jack's tale is more than a victim-and-survivor story: it works as a study of child development, shows the power of language and storytelling, and is a kind of sustained poem in praise of motherhood and parental love.”

“ … this haunting novel by Emma Donoghue, longlisted for the Man Booker prize, is so carefully and originally constructed that it’s both hard to put down and profoundly affecting… Donoghue has crafted a narrative that moves as breathlessly as a serial-killer thriller while convincingly portraying, with the precision of a science-fiction novel, how a boy might believe that a room is his whole world.”
Sunday Times

“This child’s-eye view of the world may sound kooky, but it reads as smooth as ice-cream, and Donoghue quickly builds a compelling view of this strange existence… [A]s a life-affirming fable of parent-child love, and an antidote to the prurience of so much crime fiction, it’s a triumph, and deserves to be a hit.”

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, author of The Hours and By Nightfall

“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, author of The Time Traveler’s Wife and Her Fearful Symmetry

"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, author of The Pilot’s Wife and A Change in Altitude

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. I read the book over two days, desperate to know how their story would end…Room deserves to reach the widest possible audience.”
—John Boyne, author of The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

“I was gripped by Room as soon as I discerned its startling premise. It is an almost macabre and completely accomplished novel… leavened by one of the most convincing portrayals of love I have come across in literature or in the world outside it.  Room deserves a wide readership. It should inspire a dialogue among its readers about how a life--how all of our lives--can be redeemed through the telling of stories, and through ingenuity, loyalty, bravery, hope and love.”
—Anne Giardini, author of The Sad Truth about Happiness