A Scotiabank Giller Prize finalist and #1 bestseller, The Wonder is the latest masterpiece from Man Booker Prize—nominated author Emma Donoghue.
The Toronto Star praises The Wonder as “a thoroughly enjoyable read from one of the country’s premier storytellers.” Emma Donoghue takes the reader back to 1850s Ireland, where a village is baffled by Anna O’Donnell’s fast. The little girl appears to be thriving after months without food, and the story of this “wonder” has reached fever pitch. Tourists flock to the O’Donnell family’s cabin, 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.
The Wonder works beautifully on many levels—as a simple tale of two strangers who will transform each other’s lives, as a powerful psychological thriller and as a story of love pitted against evil in its many masks.
“Beautifully moody with the taut pace of a thriller, The Wonder grapples with the potency of love, both human and divine.”
“The Wonder unfolds a cagey, suspenseful stand-off . . . Anna receives the author’s full sympathies and is a lively, endearing foil to her incredulous nurse.
“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.”
“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.”
“Fodder for endless book club debates.”
“Claustrophobic, controversial, brilliant . . . inventive, tense, and stringently intelligent.”
“A fine work, adept and compelling in voice, plot, and moral complexity. . . . Donoghue deals out the cards with real skill.”
“A tense gothic page-turner in which nobody, including the unreliable nurse narrator, are entirely what they seem. A powerful exploration of religion and the sway it holds, The Wonder is equal parts psychological drama and unorthodox love story. A thoroughly enjoyable read from one of the country’s premier storytellers.
“Donoghue’s superb thriller will keep readers hanging on to every word, pondering how far one will go to prove her faith.”
“Donoghue poses powerful questions about faith and belief”
“Outstanding.... Exploring the nature of faith and trust with heartrending intensity, Donoghue’s superb novel will leave few unaffected.”
“What at first seems a simple matter becomes far more-stick with it, the payoff is there.”
“With Donoghue’s readable prose and lightness of touch, we find ourselves both pausing for thought and racing forward to see what will become of Anna.”
“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.”
“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.”
“Eerie. . . . The reader is seduced by the suspense; compelled to pay as close consideration as the nurse in order to understand precisely what’s going on . . . sets a superb pace.”
“A haunting novel about good vs. evil.”
“Fresh and unusually lively historical fiction. [Donoghue’s] latest novel brings together both her preoccupation with child peril and her gift for history.”
“Sophisticated, provocative, and bracing. ”
“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.”
“Deliciously gothic.... Dark and vivid, with complicated characters, this is a novel that lodges itself deep”
“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.
“Riveting. . . . Highly recommended.”
“A blazing historical novel.”
“Heartbreaking and transcendent”
“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.”
“Readers of historical fiction will gravitate to this tale.”
“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.”
“It’s an intricately, beautifully wrought tale.”
“All spectacle and gothic horror and inevitably hard to put down.”
“Donoghue’s literary prowess creeps like a dark, menacing fog across the pages.”
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 tradition, rich versus poor.
“A riveting allegory about the trickle-down effect of trauma.”
“Donoghue is a master of plot, and her prose is especially exquisite in depicting ambiguity. …In The Wonder, Gospel-like in its concern with adversity and hope, miracles are possible–perhaps through God, perhaps through woman.”
“Donoghue draws out the narrative suspense with her customary combination of historical verve and emotional delicacy . . . Like Room, this is a thrilling domestic psychodrama that draws its power from quotidian detail as well as gothic horror
“Thrilling and at moments palm-sweatingly harrowing.”
“A fable as lean and discomfiting as Anna’s dwindling body. . . . Donoghue keeps us riveted”
“A masterful, gorgeous, and wickedly well written book.
“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.”