Dublin, 1918: three days in a maternity ward at the height of the Great Flu. A small world of work, risk, death and unlooked-for love, by the bestselling author of The Wonder and ROOM.
In an Ireland doubly ravaged by war and disease, Nurse Julia Power works at an understaffed hospital in the city center, where expectant mothers who have come down with the terrible new Flu are quarantined together. Into Julia’s regimented world step two outsiders—Doctor Kathleen Lynn, on the run from the police, and a young volunteer helper, Bridie Sweeney.
In the darkness and intensity of this tiny ward, over three days, these women change each other’s lives in unexpected ways. They lose patients to this baffling pandemic, but they also shepherd new life into a fearful world. With tireless tenderness and humanity, carers and mothers alike somehow do their impossible work.
In The Pull of the Stars, Emma Donoghue once again finds the light in the darkness in this new classic of hope and survival against all odds.
“Impeccably researched and immensely readable, as always with Donoghue.”
“A timely commentary not only on life and death, but also on the workings of fate. . . . As always, Donoghue catches the reader’s attention. Her look at both unforeseen plague and the dangerous rituals of childbirth is riveting and moving. In her disturbing but thought-provoking tale, hope and empathy appear in unexpected ways as patients and nurses alter each other’s lives.”
“Donoghue, a first-rate historical novelist, skillfully weaves the era’s primitive medical understanding and social prejudices into her moving story of three caregivers with little but loving care to give.”
"Donoghue. . . . offers vivid characters and a gripping portrait of a world beset by a pandemic and political uncertainty. A fascinating read in these difficult times."
“Darkly compelling, illuminated by the light of compassion and tenderness: Donoghue’s best novel since Room.”
“Searing… Donoghue’s evocation of the 1918 flu, and the valor it demands of health-care workers, will stay with readers.”