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Room [Paperback]

Emma Donoghue
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,261 customer reviews)
RRP: 8.99
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Book Description

23 Dec 2010

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.

‘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

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Frequently Bought Together

Room + The Sealed Letter + Slammerkin
Price For All Three: 18.80

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  • The Sealed Letter 5.72
  • Slammerkin 6.79

Product details

  • Paperback: 412 pages
  • Publisher: Picador (23 Dec 2010)
  • Language: Unknown
  • ISBN-10: 0330519026
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330519021
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 2.6 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,261 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,009 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description


'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 thriller while convincingly portraying how a boy might believe a room is his whole world.' --Sunday Times Book of the Week

'The Man Booker shortlisted novel about an imprisoned child, with horrible intimations of the Fritzl case.' --The Times

'an extraordinarily plausible account of the deprivations of life in a domestic dungeon' --Guardian

'Beautifully written, this moving and ultimately uplifting novel is Donoghue's masterpiece.'
--Gay Community News

'Emma Donoghue's bestseller pulses with fierce intelligence as much as powerful emotion . . . Room seeks and finds a common truth, about the private worlds of language and feeling that we all inhabit.' --Independent

'This tale is a true rollercoaster of emotions and is both touching and tragic.' --No1 Magazine

'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.' --The Irish Times

`I haven't cried reading a book for years. This time the crying happened on a plane, when I reached the middle section of Emma Donoghue's Room I wasn't sad. I was just so in the boy's head, desperate with fear and anticipation.' --Helen Fitzgerald, Herald

About the Author

Born in 1969, Emma Donoghue is an Irish writer who lives in Canada. Her fiction includes includes the bestselling Slammerkin.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
92 of 96 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Room Conversion 4 April 2011
Being aware of the rather unappealing premise of 'Room', it wasn't a book I wanted to read. Despite the praise heaped upon it, I had expected it to be the sort of voyeuristic account of great suffering that passes as entertainment these days. My book group however, were keen to read it, and so I acquiesced agreeing to give it a try. I have to say my original assumption was well wide of the mark. Right from the beginning it is obvious that this novel is something special.

The story (as you probably already know) is narrated by 'Jack', a five year old, who has only ever lived in 'Room'. Jack's mother has been kidnapped and held for seven years. Jack is the product of her kidnapper's unwanted attentions. Knowing the book had a child narrator had also put me off reading it. I tend to find that books written with a child's voice are normally pretentious and hard to read. Room's Booker prize nomination had done nothing to allay these fears.

Although Jack's voice is not entirely consistent with how I imagine a five-year-olds might be, it is the making of the novel. For a start, that something so pure and innocent can come from such bleak circumstances, makes the novel bearable. Secondly, Emma Donaghue uses Jack's over-simplified understanding of the world almost without fault. She uses the space between reality and Jack's view of reality to convey events in a much more powerful way than writing about them directly. The whole novel is the ultimate example of 'showing' rather than 'telling'.

It is curious that the most exciting point of the novel is about halfway through. Though I feel novel's the gradual relaxation of tension is entirely justified (mirroring, Jack's return to something like a normal life), it does make the last half of the novel feel over long.
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262 of 279 people found the following review helpful
By Nicola F (Nic) TOP 500 REVIEWER
This is a book I hadn't heard much about prior to picking it up (I try to avoid too overly-hyped novels), but I'm so glad that I gave this a chance. There's not a lot I can add to all the previous reviews and comments that hasn't already been said, other than to afirm that this is a bloody good read.

Told from the point of view of five year old Jack, the novel sees him and his mother living in `Room,' a place the child has never left in his whole life. Unbeknownst to him however, that is because he and his mother are both prisoners and this little boy's world is about to be turned entirely upside down...

I am in awe at the authors ability to consistently maintain the voice of a child in telling this story; granted an incredibly *smart* child, but a child nonetheless. This is what for me made this book so fascinating, because Jack is such a memorable narrator. Also, the relationship between a mother and child who ultimately only have each other was told such in a moving way that for me that was the essence of the novel, despite the sinister plot twists, which were granted, a bit predictable but still very well portrayed.

I adored this book and couldn't put it down. The storyline is compelling, despite the sad turns of events, and characters are incredibly skilfully developed and believable. I would urge everyone to read this book- you won't be sorry you did.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully written - couldn't put it down 4 Sep 2011
Format:Kindle Edition
I loved this book. Even a month after finishing it I am thinking about the characters and thinking about how good it was and how beautifully written. Seeing things from the child's point of view and hearing his thoughts reminded me a little of The Curious Case of the Dog in the Night Time, although this book felt emotionally deeper that the Dog in the Night, probably because of the theme of captivity.
Despite that being the theme, it's not gruelling to read at all. At no point did I feel disgusted or disturbed, which I was worried about before I started it and was told it was inspired by the Josef Fritzel case. It IS about a mother and son being held captive, but the captor is given very little description and limited attention is given to him. Apparently Donaghue did that on purpose as she didn't want the book to be about him. She has said the main thing that gave her inspiration from the Fritzel case wasn't the torture or the assault or Fritzel himself; the thing she found fascinating was the idea of a child being born in that room and only knowing that for their whole life, then emerging into a world they've never seen before like an alien landing on earth. That's what comes through in the book and it's really eye-opening. The other overwhelming theme is the bond between a mother and child. That's what I found anyway. It's great - read it.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Room without a view 15 Aug 2011
I found this book more than a little tedious. Given the situation and the awfulness of circumstance, the book felt rushed as to detail and slow as to pace. I had to read it for my book club and I would not have bothered past the first chapter otherwise.
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239 of 265 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ambitious, intelligent and utterly gripping 18 July 2010
By Roman Clodia TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is a genuinely original, imaginative and ambitious novel which Donoghue pulls off brilliantly. Written through the voice and perspective of 5 year old Jack, we witness his happy and secure solitary life with his mother in Room. Playing on the tradition of other naive child-narrators (e.g. Pip in Great Expectations, Maisie in What Maisie Knew) we experience his exuberant take on what he naturally assumes is normal, only the sinister implications of their life seep through the edges to unsettle us as readers, revealing a far more menacing reality that he doesn't see.

This isn't a plot driven novel full of twists and turns, instead it is an intelligent and detailed exploration of the way the human mind constructs its own reality. Full of tenderness as well as pain, this celebrates the relationship created by this young mother with her son, and reveals the enormous potential for resilience in the human spirit.

The second half of the book where Jack experiences Outside for the first time is fresh and imaginative, sometimes funny but also agonising as this solemn 5 year old understands for the first time that the world doesn't consist of just him and his mother, and that the rules which they lived by can, and should, be broken.

There are a few small points where Donoghue stumbles (the first TV interview felt very false and forced; some of Jack's naivety towards the end takes on the tinge of adult satire and I felt like it was the author, not the character, talking about how people have too little time to enjoy their lives).

But these are small niggles in a powerful and overwhelmingly confident narrative. I started this in the afternoon and was literally unable to put the book down till I finished it that night and even after that Jack's voice still haunted me. It's quite rare for me to be really gripped by a contemporary literary novel but this one managed it effortlessly: highly recommended.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Pleasant surprise
Interesting book not what I thought it would be. Some plots issues but an ok read and more uplifting than I had expected
Published 4 days ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Sad , thought provoking
This book is so unusual, from the point of view of a child locked in a room, prepare to cry
Published 5 days ago by Ms. M. RIGBY
3.0 out of 5 stars A sensitively handled (but flawed) story, which will appeal to fans of...
Jack is an unusual and tricky choice of narrator - brought up alone by his mother, in an 11-foot square room, he has no concept of other people (apart from his shadowy impressions... Read more
Published 5 days ago by Gabby Singer
4.0 out of 5 stars A great read
took a wee while to get into this book keep going turned into a great read and a quite thought provoking
Published 6 days ago by inag
5.0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking
When I finished this book I tried to get quickly into another as I am an avid reader but found it so thought provoking that it was 2-3 days before I could concentrate on anything... Read more
Published 7 days ago by Susan Breeden
5.0 out of 5 stars Very poignant and a unique narrative voice
This is an unusual novel and initially I wasn't too sure about it, but I quickly got sucked into the narrative. Read more
Published 7 days ago by John Hopper
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting
I read this as it was recommended by my Book Club. I found it an interesting read. Not a book I would necessarily have read if not for the Book Club.
Published 7 days ago by Mrs. B. D. Hollidge
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
It was quite difficult initially to follow the language in the beginning, as you're inside the head of a 5yr old without introduction. Read more
Published 9 days ago by Caroline Purvis
1.0 out of 5 stars not for me
I got bored, I didn't like the writing style. even though this had been recommended top me. I gave up after a few chapters.
Published 11 days ago by amy502
1.0 out of 5 stars Awful!
Reading the storyline on the back of the book, this seemed like a very interesting wrong was I? Read more
Published 12 days ago by watkinss2
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