Saturday, December 24, 2011

Emma Donoghue

Emma Donoghue's latest novel is Room.

From her Q & A at the Man Booker Prize site:

MBP: Room begins with a mother and son captured and living in one room - it's an incredibly chilling and powerful novel. Reviewers have written said that you were influenced by the Elizabeth Fritzl and Jaycee Lee Dugard cases - is this the case and how difficult was it to read this unsettling factual material?

ED: It was the Fritzl case that triggered the idea of the book, as it happens; the Dugard case did not hit the headlines until after the book was written. I was careful to distance the scenario in my book from any of the real-life ones I was reading about, but the research I did was certainly very helpful on, in particular, the issue of how captives cope. The stories I found most distressing were not those of kidnaps, in fact, but those of children raised in appallingly confined, neglected or maltreated situations, usually by their own parents. I deliberately made the circumstances in Room much less horrific than any of the real cases; I did not want to pile up horrors for my readers, but to focus their minds on the more existential issue of confinement.

MBP: In Room, the reader is led to believe that an escape will be the end of their ordeal - yet the ‘outside' world presents new challenges. Did you do any research into how victims coped with life after this kind of imprisonment? Are there themes in victims' responses?

ED: The most interesting material was in studies of solitary confinement, which is widely used in American jails, for instance. The long-term psychic damage of this kind of punitive isolation is clear, so it seemed to me that Ma would have many problems coping with the social world for which she has been longing. And for Jack, of course, much about our world is utterly alien - and not just because...[read on]
Learn about the book at changed Emma Donoghue's life.

--Marshal Zeringue