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Astray is historical fiction for the true history buff. It arose from research; every piece in this collection is based on a true occurrence, snippets and anecdotes and stories that Emma Donoghue stumbled across in archives and libraries. Donoghue fictionalizes these nearly-lost tales, restoring vibrancy and voice to them, and reminding us that our history is far more complex and authentic than we know.
November 2012 Indie Next List
“The short story is the most demanding of arts, and it takes a brilliant practitioner to succeed. Donoghue meets the description with this collection examining immigrants and the dispossessed through the centuries. Lives filled with hope, fear, uncertainty, and desperation are portrayed succinctly, with precise language that tells the stories of those who have dared or been forced to uproot their normal existence.”
— Bill Cusumano, Nicola's Books, Ann Arbor, MI
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 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.
About the Author
Born in Dublin in 1969, Emma Donoghue is an Irish emigrant twice over: she spent eight years in Cambridge doing a PhD in eighteenth-century literature before moving to London, Ontario, where she lives with her partner and their two children. She also migrates between genres, writing literary history, biography, stage and radio plays as well as fairy tales and short stories.
She is best known for her novels, which range from the historical (Frog Music, Slammerkin, Life Mask, Landing, The Sealed Letter) to the contemporary (Akin, Stir-Fry, Hood, Landing). Her international bestseller Room was a New York Times Best Book of 2010 and was a finalist for the Man Booker, Commonwealth, and Orange Prizes.