Room, Emma Donoghue, ISBN 9780330519922
Room (paperback)

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by: Emma Donoghue
Publisher:Macmillan / Picador
ISBN: 9780330519922
List Price: Rs. 499.00
Our Price: Rs. 349.00
Pages: 320
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Room by Emma Donoghue, was on the short list for the 2010 Mann Booker Prize and has great buzz. All this is for good reason; it is fantastic — at once charming, horrifying, and uplifting. The story of a mother, her son, a locked room and the outside world.
Jack is five and, like any little boy, excited at the prospect of presents and cake. He's looking forward to telling his friends it's his birthday, too. But although Jack is a normal child in many ways loving, funny, bright, full of energy and questions his upbringing is far from ordinary: Jack's entire life has been spent in a single room that measures just 12 feet by 12 feet; as far as he's concerned, Room is the entire world.
He shares this world with his mother, with Plant, and tiny Mouse (though Ma isn't a fan and throws a book at Mouse when she sees him). There's TV too, of course and the cartoon characters he thinks of as his friends but Jack knows that nothing else he sees on the screen is real. Old Nick, on the other hand, is all too real, but only visits at night like a bat when Jack is meant to be asleep and hidden safely in Wardrobe. And only Old Nick has the code to Door, which is otherwise locked...
Told in Jack's voice, Room is the story of a mother's love for her son, and of a young boy's innocence. Unsentimental yet affecting, devastating yet uplifting, it promises to be the most talked about novel of 2010.


Media Reviews of Room
Separation Anxiety By AIMEE BENDER

Emma Donoghue’s remarkable new novel, “Room,” is built on two intense constraints: the limited point of view of the narrator, a 5-year-old boy named Jack; and the confines of Jack’s physical world, an 11-by-11-foot room where he lives with his mother. We enter the book strongly planted within these restrictions. We know only what Jack knows, and the drama is immediate, as is our sense of disorientation over why these characters are in this place. Jack seems happily ensconced in a routine that is deeply secure, in a setting where he can see his mother all day, at any moment. She has created a structured, lively regimen for him, including exercise, singing and reading. The main objects in the room are given capital letters — Rug, Bed, Wall — a wonderful choice, because to Jack, they are named beings. In a world where the only other companion is his mother, Bed is his friend as much as anything else. Jack, in this way, is a heightened version of a regular kid, bringing boundless wonder and meaning to his every pursuit.

Donoghue navigates beautifully around these limitations. Jack’s voice is one of the pure triumphs of the novel: in him, she has invented a child narrator who is one of the most engaging in years — his voice so pervasive I could hear him chatting away during the day when I wasn’t reading the book.
Fierce claustrophobia sets in — what had seemed an odd mother-child monastery is now Rapunzel’s tower or Anne Frank’s annex or a story from the news about a stolen child living in a hidden compound. Jack, interestingly, does not feel trapped; that the two live in Room against his mother’s will is not something the son knows right away, and this contrast creates the major fissures and complexities in the book: Room is both a jail and a haven.
Jack doesn’t need to adapt; this is his norm. Room functions like a big womb, the space in many ways a true extension of a mother’s body, a limited area of total closeness and care. It is a child’s heaven for a time and, were he to grow older there, would be his nightmare. At 5, Jack is somewhat delayed developmentally, still living wholly in the unity he feels with his mother. “Maybe I’m a human,” he thinks, “but I’m a me-and-Ma as well.”
Very early on, we see that Ma breast-feeds her son. The book opens on his birthday, and she tries, halfheartedly, to wean him, but he loves this intimate connection to his mother’s body as much as he loves all the walls and objects and routines of Room. There’s a flicker of unease in the reader here — and it’s a good and interesting flicker. Room is a sanctuary for Jack, but where are the lines, the boundaries between mother and son? When does security go too far?

A review found in The New York Times's Sunday Book Review.



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