Astray The fascinating characters that roam across the pages of Emma Donoghue s stories have all gone astray they are emigrants runaways drifters lovers old and new They are gold miners and counterfeiters

The fascinating characters that roam across the pages of Emma Donoghue s stories have all gone astray they are emigrants, runaways, drifters, lovers old and new They are gold miners and counterfeiters, attorneys and slaves They cross other borders too those of race, law, sex, and sanity They travel for love or money, incognito or under duress.With rich historical detaThe fascinating characters that roam across the pages of Emma Donoghue s stories have all gone astray they are emigrants, runaways, drifters, lovers old and new They are gold miners and counterfeiters, attorneys and slaves They cross other borders too those of race, law, sex, and sanity They travel for love or money, incognito or under duress.With rich historical detail, the celebrated author of Room takes us from puritan Massachusetts to revolutionary New Jersey, antebellum Louisiana to the Toronto highway, lighting up four centuries of wanderings that have profound echoes in the present Astray offers us a surprising and moving history for restless times The Hunt was short listed for the 2012 Sunday Times EFG Private Bank Short Story Award.

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  1. Emma is the youngest of eight children of Frances and Denis Donoghue She attended Catholic convent schools in Dublin, apart from one year in New York at the age of ten In 1990 she earned a first class honours BA in English and French from University College Dublin, and in 1997 a PhD on the concept of friendship between men and women in eighteenth century English fiction from the University of Cambridge Since the age of 23, Donoghue has earned her living as a full time writer After years of commuting between England, Ireland, and Canada, in 1998 she settled in London, Ontario, where she lives with her partner and their son and daughter.

953 Reply to “Astray”

  1. I have loved Emma Donoghue since before Room Her novel Slammerkin remains one of my favourite pieces of historical fiction I very much enjoyed this collection of historical short stories I read it in one day admittedly much of this day was spent on a plane I was lucky enough to hear the author speak about the book and where the stories came from Emma described the freedom of zooming in on a single moment in history, rather than creating a whole novel around it She described herself as a collecto [...]

  2. Astray is a collection of short stories based on real events Emma has researched and found bits and pieces of events be they birth records, census counts, stories passed down or interesting items found in old journals and newspapers Around these scraps of information she has built her short stories almost as a way of connecting piece A the birth record of Jane to piece D Jane leaves home with her two daughters, fleeing into the arms of a wealthy man So what happened in Jane s life, why was she f [...]

  3. The latest anthology from the author of Room has an intriguing premise vignettes and very short stories spun out from old news items and historical records but the stories Donoghue uncovers are often rich enough to support entire novels, and yet she only elaborates enough to add a few details In many cases it seems like the real story is starting where she ends her writing, which can make this a frustrating read Yes, it s interesting that a slave murdered his owner and went on the run with his o [...]

  4. This short story collection by Emma Donoghue examines historic and personal moments that are based on real events Each story is followed by background information from which the narrative is based The finished collection jumps eras and locations while Donoghue expertly switches styles of writing including the exploration of a wide variety of dialects This results in technically sound and well researched short stories, yet they lack something that taps into a deeper truth or heart Thus, the book [...]

  5. Facebook Page facebook Thebooknatics I received this book through the Giveaways, it was one of those books that captivated me from the start and just couldn t put down at all.Emma Donoghue has taken real historic stories of people on the run or departed for adventure and love, and turned them into a work of art, almost like behind the scenes action Her imagination takes us for a spin on the untold stories of beloved documented events of everyday people who left an imprint on our history of the l [...]

  6. While I am not typically a fan of short stories, Astray showed me how rich this literary form can be in the hands of an excellent writer Donoghue s Room was such a good read that I was compelled to give this book a try I m so glad I did On top of being thankful for the kind librarian who let me exceed my book limit to check it out My main complaint with short stories has been the lack of character development I often read books to get to know the people between their pages What I found out in th [...]

  7. Old newspaper articles, snippets of interest, places visited, all become fodder for these amazing stories by Donoghue Usually when reading a book of short stories there are always some that are my favorites, some I don t like and some I just don t get, but in this book I really enjoyed them all That she explains were she got the idea for the story was an extra bonus and a welcome one Some of the subjects of her stories are the characters often found on the fringes of our society, or strange char [...]

  8. When I read an author I admire, I often wonder what inspires their stories Emma Donoghue provides the answers in this wonderful collection of historical fiction shorts about castaways, immigrants and lost souls Each story contains an afterward referencing her inspiration sometimes a newspaper article, sometimes a moment in history or famous court cases.I appreciated reading the fiction story first, falling enveloped into the tiny worlds Donoghue created in a few short pages, before I knew the ge [...]

  9. 4.5 I m a fan of short stories because 1 the writers work just as hard as with a novel but the reader gets all the reward and 2 I tend to read faster, because oh, just one , they re short Unlike Anita Brookner or Maeve Binchy, when you read a book from Donoghue it s different each time different setting, characters, style, format Here she takes snippets truly, just a paragraph or less of a historical fact and fleshes out a story where the person goes astray It could be physically, emotionally, [...]

  10. I was surprised and a little sad to see this book in my 1 store I guess even big name writers can end up in these remainder bins I quickly saw why when I started reading Love the cover and the concept historical short stories based on biographical snippets each story ends with some information on the character that Donoghue based her story on However, the early stories did not grip me at all More like narrative sketches I almost didn t finish.Having said that, I m glad I continued on, as I did f [...]

  11. Within these fourteen stories, Emma Donoghue traces paths overland and oversea, navigating the different ways we can go astray, journeys of the heart and mind as much as the body Immigrants and the immigrant story feature prominently, but these stories aren t confined to the immigrant experience Each one is inspired by a real person, a real story a clipping from an old paper, a museum piece, an incident in someone else s non fiction work From England to Canada to the United States, these stories [...]

  12. I did not realize what a phenomenal historical writer Donoghue is She hits the timeperiod full on It s very David Mitchell esque in its ability to really capture the voice of the period and not to feel anachronistic in the least bit And I loved that all the short stories come from real historical events either actual people or just an event that really happened My favorites were The Gift heartbreaking correspondence about a young mother forced to give up her child due to poverty but always plann [...]

  13. An interesting set of short stories, each based on some historical events from about a century or two ago Many were depressing, but quite realistic I almost gave this 3 stars because the main points are not really to my taste, but her writing is quite good the historical points are excellent That made it worth listening too for me.I listened to this because I ve heard a lot of good things about a novel of hers, but didn t think her style would suit me I m convinced of that Plot points she finds [...]

  14. Starting Sunday 18th November on Radio 4BBC blurb Four short stories from Emma Donoghue s new collection Astray These fact inspired fictions, about travels to, in and from North America, focus on emigrants, runaways or drifters all gone astray for love or money, under duress or incognito Emma s compassionate imagination crosses borders of race, law, sex, and sanity bringing the reader through a scattered scrap book of history.Man and Boy, read by Richard Lumsden, is a love story between two life [...]

  15. short stories based on facts from newspaper cuttings, letters and books that Donoghue has read, centring around immigrants to North America USA and Canada , stretching from the 17th century to 1969 Broken in to three sections departure, in transit and arrivals , it includes Jumbo the elephant leaving London Zoo heading for Barnum s circus, a struggling mother turned prostitute helped by Charles Dickens to move away and start a new life, a woman who discovers her father was actually a woman In fa [...]

  16. I ve never read Donoghue s longer fiction, but I love her stories In this collection, as in The Woman Who Gave Birth to Rabbits Stories, she includes detailed story notes Each piece jumps off from a news clipping or other factual source It s great fun to try to figure out what the grain of truth is inside each work of fiction Most of the stories are somewhat bittersweet after all, who makes the news A few are from the other type of news, surprising deceptions carried out on an individual or grou [...]

  17. This book of interesting short stories has a common theme of a character going astray, sometimes by traveling, and other times by reinventing themselves in a new location For every story, the author also tells the reader about a historical event or a newspaper clipping, sometimes just a few lines, that inspired her imagination She would create characters and motives to describe what could have happened in the historical situation Often these characters are in no win situations without much emoti [...]

  18. In bailing on this after the first two stories, I am entertaining two reading related hypotheses 1 I just don t do well with most fiction that s based on real life historical people, and 2 this being the second Donoghue book I ve bailed on this month, maybe my deep love for Room was the beginning and the end of things for Emma and me I am certainly not going to try another of hers for a loooong time.

  19. Normally, I avoid short story collections however, I had promised myself after reading Room that I would read everything that Emma Donoghue publishes And I m glad I did This collection is not to be missed.The book is broken into three parts part 1 is stories about people that are about to embark on a journey, part 2 is stories about people that are in transit of a journey, and part 3 is stories about people that are concluding a journey The stories are historical in that they are based in histor [...]

  20. This book review can also be found on my blog graphicnovelty2 2017 02 1This book was a mix of several of my favorite genres short stories, historical fiction and non fiction Every single story was amazing, even if it dealt with difficult subject matter, for the stories were based on real people or events in history I will definitely be spending some time researching some of the information sources that the author based her stories off Some Spoliers Man and Boy Jumbo the elephant and his loving z [...]

  21. 3.5 stars I was really excited for this book Donoghue s Room was one of my favorite reads last year so when I heard that Donoghue s Astray was coming out, I knew that I had to read this book Now short stories are not usually my favorite but because of the writing in Room, I gave this book a shot I was definitely pleased and I know that in the future, Emma Donoghue will continue to be on my must read Now to go back and read her backlistThis book is all about journeys of all different kinds The st [...]

  22. I loved this book I m a short story fan In the hands of a capable writer, they are a form that can produce a great impact Emma Donoghue is a than competent writer, and the stories in this book are absolutely brilliant Astray is about drifters, people who are floating through their lives, arriving to or departing from places Donoghue herself is an immigrant, so it makes sense that she would pick people who don t belong anywhere to headline her stories The characters are interesting without fail, [...]

  23. In each of these 14 historically dated stories of people in various stages of transition, ED has taken as her inspiration the often slender documentation of their passage in newpapers and magazine references A few of the stories that have extensive documentation seem the most far fetched, like the first story which tells of the bull elephant Jumbo and his mahoot, and Daddy s girl Oh, Daddy, was any of it true A few of the stories are apocryphal, and these are the most disturbing stories of all. [...]

  24. ripped straight from the local museum newsletter in prescott arizona and the headlines of london 1898 newspapers, very put together short stories all based on quirky or affecting historical happenings, like jumbo moving to nyc, Tammany hall big wheel who was really a woman in disguise, and child soldiers raping and pillaging in 1776 new jersey i predict donoghue wins the biggest awards with her next novel.

  25. This book of historical documentary fiction a series of short stories imagining the lives and significant events of real lives has redeemed Emma Donoghue for me as a writer wasn t a big fan of Room at all It s also made me realize she s written a lot than just the one novel The brief commentary on each story is quite fascinating and very controlled nothing self indulgent here.

  26. London, ON based Irish writer Emma Donoghue s Astray is nothing if not a diverse collection of short stories Although each story is historical and has some kind of fact such as letters or newspaper articles that serve as a catalyst for Donoghue s imagination, the times, places, and contexts are about as far reaching as you could imagine One, for example, takes place in the seventeenth century Puritan America, whereas another is set in rural Ontario in 1967 I love the idea of taking brief mention [...]

  27. Definitely one of the best story collections I ve read I sometimes find with story collections there are stories I love, ones I think are OK , and others I don t particularly like Not in this case Every single story is brilliant in its own way There is enough variety in Astray to keep everyone happy I particularly liked the last one which is a particularly interesting read considering the choice of characters shall allow people to read that and judge what I mean I loved the opening story about t [...]

  28. I have to say that I really hated Room, but after making a book discussion guide for it, I had a feeling that I would really enjoy some of Emma Donughue s other work, and I was right.Astray appealed to my archivist tendencies She sourced each story from a little snippet of history a letter, a newspaper clipping, or the mention of a historical figure in a book While many of the characters were real people, little about them was known It was completely obvious to me that she delighted in the resea [...]

  29. Readers will really enjoy this marvelous collection of uniquely wonderful short stories These are pages from our past, providing images as strikingly real as nearly freezing to death in the frozen wilderness We are asked to view the lives of the trainer of Jumbo, the magnificent elephant who claimed the attention of a nation and that of a desperate mother, struggling to locate the daughter she sent west on one of the orphan trains.Ms Donoghue writes with compassion and grit, masterfully plunging [...]

  30. Short stories are not usually my thing but I really enjoyed these I connected with some than others but, overall, I was surprised at how they drew me in The common thread is that each story is based on a little snippet of time or an old headline They felt like character explorations to me Kind of like a series of sketches before a painting It would be cool if some of these stories were fleshed out I would especially love to read a historical novel based on Frances Loring and Florence Wyle Inter [...]

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