Now a Netflix film starring Florence Pugh: In this “old-school page turner” (Stephen King, New York Times Book Review) by the bestselling author of Room, an English nurse is brought to a small Irish village to observe what appears to be a miracle—a girl said to have survived without food for months—and soon finds herself fighting to save the child's life.
Tourists flock to the cabin of eleven-year-old Anna O'Donnell, who believes herself to be living off manna from heaven, and a journalist is sent to cover the sensation. Lib Wright, a veteran of Florence Nightingale's Crimean campaign, is hired to keep watch over the girl.
Written with all the propulsive tension that made Room a huge bestseller, The Wonder works beautifully on many levels -- a tale of two strangers who transform each other's lives, a powerful psychological thriller, and a story of love pitted against evil.
Acclaim for The Wonder:
"Deliciously gothic.... Dark and vivid, with complicated characters, this is a novel that lodges itself deep" (USA Today, 3/4 stars)
"Heartbreaking and transcendent"(New York Times)
"A fable as lean and discomfiting as Anna's dwindling body.... Donoghue keeps us riveted" (Chicago Tribune)
"Donoghue poses powerful questions about faith and belief" (Newsday)
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Emma Donoghue gained fame with her heart-wrenching novel Room (she wrote the screenplay, too!), and the Irish-Canadian author continues to amaze us with her range. The Wonder is the story of a lonely English nurse who’s sent to a backwater Irish village to look into the case of a pious girl who hasn’t eaten in months. The story is mysterious and sometimes eerie. Like many of Donoghue’s novels, it digs around in the muck of human experience and celebrates moments of soulful connection.
Donoghue demonstrates her versatility by dabbling in a wide range of literary styles in this latest novel. Set mostly in a small, spare room inside a shabby cabin in rural 1850s Ireland, the closely imagined, intricately drawn story possesses many of the same alluring qualities as her bestseller, Room. Lib, a widow and former nurse, is summoned from London to the peat-smelling village of Athlone for a fortnight to assess whether 11-year-old "living marvel" Anna O'Donnell has truly been able to survive without food for four months. It could be some sort of hoax perpetrated by the girl's family or the village parish, and Lib confidently assumes that it'll be an open-and-shut case. But as each day passes and Anna's health suddenly begins to deteriorate, not only does Lib grow more attached to the earnest girl, but she also becomes convinced that Anna's reasons for fasting a recently deceased brother, devotion to God, her parents' influence run far deeper than Lib imagined. Inspired by the true cases of nearly 50 "Fasting Girls" who lived throughout the British Isles, western Europe, and North America between the 16th and 20th centuries and became renowned for living without food for long periods of time Donoghue's engrossing novel is loaded with descriptions of period customs and 19th-century Catholic devotional objects and prayers. Even with its tidy ending, the novel asks daring questions about just how far some might go to prove their faith.
I loved the story and can identify with the young girl who has such an easy time trusting God... I loved the language and the descriptions of the 19th century environment! I recommend the book.
There was so little substance to this book. It seemed like you were reading the same pages over and over again.