Saturday, September 25, 2010

Just read Room

The hype around this novel is the stuff of authors' dreams: a bidding war for publication, stellar blurbs from highly respected authors, excellent reviews, a Booker shortlist nomination. It's refreshing when a book actually lives up to the hype.

Emma Donoghue has admitted in interviews that the Fritzl case in Austria was the trigger to write this book, and its resemblance to any case of abduction and isolation is harrowing. But this book is told from the perspective of a five-year-old, Jack, who has never known a world outside of Room. He makes friends with the furniture. His outside world is television. He's never worn shoes, or a coat.

When Ma and Jack shift into the outside world, the books takes on a new dimension. Donoghue weaves reality into Jack's life in a compelling and provacative way; the reader is also introduced to the Outside. And, as children do, Jack adapts. But the reader is left questioning the idea of parameters and how we all exist in our Rooms, how this story is universal and true. But Jack's voice is what makes this novel so rich.

It's a quick read - the language is simple, the sentences short and deliberate, as a child's. It's also a cunning commentary on the media and our interpretation of news events. I finished this book hours ago and can't stop thinking about it. Recommended.

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