Synopses & Reviews
A trainer coaxes his beloved elephant onto a ship carrying him to a life of fame. A mother searches for her baby girl, sent away on a train headed west. A teenage soldier wrestles with his conscience far from home.
The fascinating characters who roam the pages of Emma Donoghue's stories have all gone astray. They are emigrants, runaways, drifters, gold miners and counterfeiters, attorneys and slaves. They cross countless borders. They travel for love or money, incognito or under duress.
The celebrated author of Room transports us from Puritan Massachusetts to Revolutionary-era New Jersey, from antebellum Louisiana to a highway in Toronto, lighting up four centuries of wanderings that have profound echoes in the present and offering us a moving meditation on restless times.
"Time and again, Emma Donoghue writes books that are unlike anything I have ever seen before, and Astray is no exception. There is such a deep and compassionate imagination at work in every story in this collection that Astray feels almost like an act of clairvoyance." Ann Patchett, author of State of Wonder
"This book demonstrates once again that there's little she can't do well; indeed, the afterword is as moving as the stories....The short story can be a precious, self-enclosed form, but in Donoghue's bold hands, it crosses continents and centuries to claim kinship with many kinds of people....Another exciting change of pace from the protean Donoghue." Kirkus Reviews
"Masterful....Revolutionary-era New Jersey, Civil War-era Texas, the gold rush Yukon, and many other settings come to life in this wonderfully imaginative, transporting collection." Booklist (Starred Review)
"Donoghue establishes a distinct voice and person [and] the stories are vivid, curious, and honest." Publishers Weekly
"From England, Canada and the United States, Donoghue has created a restless world of travelers, finders and seekers, as well as a book that is an interactive narrative hybrid, one that gets us lost in other lives, that probes our history, that reveals the artist behind the word and that ultimately shows us something fresh, unsettling and enduring about ourselves." The San Francisco Chronicle
"Sensitive and intuitive...moves fearlessly between centuries and between genders....Donoghue displays a ventriloquist's uncanny ability to slip in and out of voices...[and she] reveals them all, in their place of exile, with gentle yet devastating truth." Brooke Allen, The New York Times Book Review
"Donoghue's Astray masters the long reach of short tales....What is most impressive about these stories is her ability to plumb historical footnotes for timeless emotional resonance and reanimate 'real people who left traces in the historical record.'" Heller McAlpin, The Washington Post
"Her new and splendid collection...is all about breaking through barriers." Boston Globe
"These stories are striking for their range and freedom....One senses cumulatively throughout this book the capacious curiosity of Emma Donoghue's mind, and the breadth of her knowledge....Never dull, these stories illuminate worlds like a magic lantern....Donoghue's imagination can alight upon almost anything and revivify it." Claire Messud, The New York Review of Books
From the New York Times bestselling author of Room comes a moving set of historical stories spanning centuries and continents.
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, England, 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, and stage and radio plays, as well as fairy tales and short stories. She is best known for her novels, which range from the historical (Slammerkin, Life Mask, The Sealed Letter) to the contemporary (Stir-Fry, Hood, Landing). Her international bestseller Room was a New York Times Best Book of 2010 and a finalist for the Man Booker, Commonwealth, and Orange Prizes. "The Hunt" (from Astray) has been short-listed for the Sunday Times EFG Private Bank Short Story Award, the world's most valuable short story prize.