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Rite of Corruption

James Wood: Emma Donoghue’s ‘Room’, 21 October 2010

by Emma Donoghue.
Picador, 321 pp., £12.99, July 2010, 978 0 330 51901 4
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... a swollen effigy, many times its normal size. Abnormal normality is the operating principle of Emma Donoghue’s novel Room, which is a kind of prison-lit lite. Based on the Josef Fritzl case, it is narrated by Jack, a five-year-old American, whose mother was abducted at the age of 19 and imprisoned in a single room measuring 121 square feet. She is ...

On the highway

Jonathan Coe, 24 March 1994

by Joseph O’Connor.
Flamingo, 426 pp., £14.99, March 1994, 0 00 224301 6
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Resurrection Man 
by Eoin McNamee.
Picador, 233 pp., £14.99, March 1994, 0 330 33274 0
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by Emma Donoghue.
Hamish Hamilton, 232 pp., £9.99, January 1994, 0 241 13442 0
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... a political novel about the Troubles than a prolonged meditation on the psychology of violence. Emma Donoghue’s Stir-fry appears to offer a portrait of incipient lesbianism confronted by a repressive morality, but in the end its intentions turn out to be much airier than that. Joseph O’Connor’s novel is the most wide-ranging and the most fun to ...

The Hero Brush

Edmund Gordon: Colum McCann, 12 September 2013

by Colum McCann.
Bloomsbury, 298 pp., £18.99, May 2013, 978 1 4088 2937 0
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... and Nathan Englander as ‘quite simply, one of the very best we have’. He has called Emma Donoghue ‘one of the great literary ventriloquists’ and John Boyne ‘one of the great craftsmen in contemporary literature’. Gerard Donovan reminds him of ‘other great writers, not least Knut Hamsun, Franz Kafka and … Bernhard ...

Always the Bridesmaid

Terry Castle: Sappho, 30 September 1999

Victorian Sappho 
by Yopie Prins.
Princeton, 278 pp., £40, May 1999, 0 691 05918 7
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... coding of Sappho as Sapphist has a complex 17th and 18th-century genealogy as well, as the work of Emma Donoghue and others has shown.) Yet none of this history carries any ultimate weight in Victorian Sappho. All representations of Sappho are equally false – mere figments or ‘translation effects’, written over poor old Sappho’s dead body. Even if ...

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