Emma Donoghue’s 2010 novel ROOM is one of the more devastating works of fiction of the past 10 years. The deceptively simple story of a modern-day woman raising her five-year-old son while never leaving an 11-by-11 room builds quiet power not only because of its unique premise but also because of Donoghue’s talent for giving out just enough detail to create suspense. It’s a brilliant performance.
Her follow-up book, ASTRAY, is similar to its predecessor only in its focus on characters who live on the periphery of society. The 14 stories in ASTRAY are mini-works of historical fiction, tales that occur in cities throughout England, Canada and the United States. From “The Lost Seed,”