Frog Music Paperback – 24 Feb 2015
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|Paperback, 24 Feb 2015||
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"FROG MUSIC...[brings] to steamy life the unresolved so-called San Miguel Mystery.... Donoghue front-loads the -drama.... She captures San Francisco in all its -melting-pot, fishy-smelling glory, and weaves in authentic -details about smallpox outbreaks, race riots, and orphan-ages. -Jenny Bonnet is an incendiary character pulled directly from the history books.... Her extraordinary life gives Donoghue's novel contemporary resonance."--Elyse Moody, Elle
"Emma Donoghue shows more than range with FROG MUSIC-she shows genius. Like and unlike her stunning ROOM, this novel lifts into view a strange crime, a remarkable woman, and is a Ringling Brothers-grade feat of narrative strength. As ever, Donoghue focuses on people on the skirts of the world, who make their way outside the common middle of things. Blanche and Jenny are characters you will never forget, filmed in vibrant, cinemascope prose, and they mark Emma Donoghue's greatest achievement yet."--Darin Strauss, author of Half a Life
"Donoghue's evocative language invades the senses.... Readers won't quickly forget this rollicking, fast-paced novel, which is based on a true story and displays fine bits of humor with underlying themes of female autonomy and the right to own one's sexual identity."--Library Journal (Starred Review)
"Donoghue proves herself endlessly inventive....[She] nails both the period details and the atmosphere-think sweltering heat waves, dumping grounds for unwanted babies, and smallpox epidemics. This is the kind of book that will keep you up at night and make you smarter."--Julie Buntin, Cosmopolitan
"[An] offbeat, high-minded whodunit from the award-winning author of Room."--Adam Rathe, DuJour
"A historical narrative set in San Francisco in 1876.... [that] provides further proof that Ms. Donoghue is an unusually versatile writer."--New York Observer
"Donoghue...devises an ingeniously plotted revision to the official story of why Jenny died-true to her sustained, career-long effort to read history slant and thereby set the record straight."--Mike Fischer, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
"With rich, well-researched details, Donoghue evokes a multicultural, rough-and-tumble San Francisco."--USAToday
"Donoghue's book captures the details of San Francisco through meticulous research. The city is a character itself."--Tony DuShane, San Francisco Chronicle
"Though Donoghue poses the book as a mystery - who killed Jenny Bonnet? - it's equally a celebration of love despite hardships galore, and the rising call of motherhood against near impossible odds."--Alan Cheuse, NPR
About the Author
Born in Dublin in 1969, Emma Donoghue is an Irish emigrant twice over: she spent eight years in Cambridge doing a PhD in eighteenth-century literature before moving to London, Ontario, where she lives with her partner and their two children. She also migrates between genres, writing literary history, biography, stage and radio plays as well as fairy tales and short stories. She is best known for her novels, which range from the historical (Slammerkin, Life Mask, Landing, The Sealed Letter) to the contemporary (Stir-Fry, Hood, Landing). Her international bestseller Room was a New York Times Best Book of 2010 and was a finalist for the Man Booker, Commonwealth, and Orange Prizes. For more information, visit www.emmadonoghue.com.
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The character of the main protagonist Blanche is well portrayed as are her fascinating sexual exploits (quite erotic stuff!), but ultimately its hard to sympathise with her because well she's not too smart is she? The best advice she gets towards the end of the book form the Madame of the House of Mirrors and she ignores it!
Its clear from the afterward that the historical background to the events described has been meticulously researched - these people are real people! However possibly historical verisimilitude has been a bit too restrictive to the Author as has the constant introduction of contemporary songs and lyrics - Ms Donoghue clearly loves all this detail but it can at times rather smother the plot!
BUT a really courageous piece of work and I shall look out for the next one.
I can't say I really enjoyed it (found it rather depressing) but it is certainly worth a read