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The Wonder
Cover of The Wonder
The Wonder
A Novel
A small Irish village is mystified by what appears to be a miracle but may actually be murder in the next masterpiece from New York Times-bestselling author Emma Donoghue.

A small village in 1850s rural Ireland is baffled by Anna O'Donnell's fast, which began as a self-inflicted and earnest expression of faith. After weeks of subsisting only on what she calls "manna from heaven," the story of the "miracle" has reached a fever pitch. Tourists flock in droves to the O'Donnell family's modest cabin hoping to witness, and an international journalist is sent to cover the sensational story. Enter Lib, an English nurse trained by Florence Nightingale who is hired to keep watch for two weeks and determine whether or not Anna is a fraud. As Anna deteriorates, Lib finds herself responsible not just for the care of a child, but for getting to the root of why the child may actually be the victim of murder in slow motion.


A magnetic novel written with all the spare and propulsive tension that made Room a huge bestseller, The Wonder works beautifully on many levels—a simple tale of two strangers who will transform each other's lives, a powerful psychological thriller, and a story of love pitted against evil in its many masks.
A small Irish village is mystified by what appears to be a miracle but may actually be murder in the next masterpiece from New York Times-bestselling author Emma Donoghue.

A small village in 1850s rural Ireland is baffled by Anna O'Donnell's fast, which began as a self-inflicted and earnest expression of faith. After weeks of subsisting only on what she calls "manna from heaven," the story of the "miracle" has reached a fever pitch. Tourists flock in droves to the O'Donnell family's modest cabin hoping to witness, and an international journalist is sent to cover the sensational story. Enter Lib, an English nurse trained by Florence Nightingale who is hired to keep watch for two weeks and determine whether or not Anna is a fraud. As Anna deteriorates, Lib finds herself responsible not just for the care of a child, but for getting to the root of why the child may actually be the victim of murder in slow motion.


A magnetic novel written with all the spare and propulsive tension that made Room a huge bestseller, The Wonder works beautifully on many levels—a simple tale of two strangers who will transform each other's lives, a powerful psychological thriller, and a story of love pitted against evil in its many masks.
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Awards-
About the Author-
  • Emma Donoghue was born in Dublin and lived in England for many years before moving to Canada. She writes in many genres, including theatre, radio drama and literary history, but is best known for her fiction, both historical (Slammerkin, The Sealed Letter, Astray, Frog Music) and contemporary (Stir-fry, Hood, Landing, Touchy Subjects). Her seventh novel, Room, won the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize and the Commonwealth Writers' Prize (Canada and the Caribbean region) and was shortlisted for the Man Booker and Orange Prizes. It sold more than two million copies. Donoghue scripted the film adaptation, a Canadian-Irish film by Lenny Abrahamson starring Brie Larson, which was nominated for four Academy Awards, including Best Picture.

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from July 4, 2016
    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.

  • Michael Cunningham, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Hours "Room is that rarest of entities, an entirely original work of art. I mean it as the highest possible praise when I tell you that I can't compare it to any other book. Suffice to say that it's potent, darkly beautiful, and revelatory."
  • Toronto Star "Remarkable . . . heartrending. . . . Both gripping and poignant, it's a tribute to human resourcefulness and resilience and extremity, and a stirring portrait of a mother's devotion."
  • Francesca Lia Block, author of Dangerous Angels: The Weetzie Bat Books "A masterful, gorgeous, and wickedly well written book.
  • Francesca Lia Block author of Weetzie Bat "Threading her stories together like a master weaver, Donoghue takes the reader deeper and deeper into the tapestry of Kissing The Witch. A masterful, gorgeous, and wickedly well written book.
  • The New York Times Book Review "Sophisticated, provocative, and bracing. "
  • New York Times Book Review "Thrilling and at moments palm-sweatingly harrowing."
  • Kirkus Reviews (starred review) "Her contemporary thriller Room (2010) made the author an international bestseller, but this gripping tale offers a welcome reminder that her historical fiction is equally fine."
  • Quill & Quire "Donoghue's literary prowess creeps like a dark, menacing fog across the pages."
  • Ottawa Citizen "Donoghue is back with a novel as gripping and intense as the popular Room. . . . The prose is so intensely alive, so cinematic that you truly can see the action unfolding before your eyes."
  • Ottawa Citizen "If you loved Room, you will love The Wonder. And if there is any justice in Canlit, The Wonder will be on the shortlists of the major literary awards this fall. And after that, undoubtedly the Oscars."
  • New York Times "Heartbreaking and transcendent"
  • Chicago Tribune "A fable as lean and discomfiting as Anna's dwindling body. . . . Donoghue keeps us riveted"
  • Booklist (starred review) "Outstanding.... Exploring the nature of faith and trust with heartrending intensity, Donoghue's superb novel will leave few unaffected."
  • Publishers Weekly (starred review) "Donoghue's engrossing novel is loaded with descriptions of period customs and 19th-century Catholic devotional objects and prayers. . . [and] asks daring questions about just how far some might go to prove their faith."
  • The Millions "Donoghue is known for her bestselling novel, Room. . . . [But] she is also well versed in historical fiction. The Wonder brings together the best of all, combining a gracefully tense, young voice with a richly detailed historical setting."
  • Seattle Times "Readers of historical fiction will gravitate to this tale."
  • Real Simple "Donoghue's superb thriller will keep readers hanging on to every word, pondering how far one will go to prove her faith."
  • Marie Claire "What at first seems a simple matter becomes far more-stick with it, the payoff is there."
  • Literary Hub "Riveting. . . . Highly recommended."
  • Los Angeles Review of Books "Fodder for endless book club debates."
  • Boston Globe "A fine work, adept and compelling in voice, plot, and moral complexity. . . . Donoghue deals out the cards with real skill."
  • New York Times "Fascinating. . . . Like The Turn of the Screw, the novel opens irresistibly, when a young woman with a troubled past gets an enigmatic posting in a remote place. . . . Heartbreaking and transcendent and almost religious in itself."
  • San Francisco Chronicle Donoghue excels at the microcosm, and her obsessive interest in rooting out the truth makes for a compulsive read. A war is being waged in Anna's tiny bedroom, and its combatants stand for sides not narrowly confined to the Victorian era: science versus faith, progress versus...
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A Novel
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