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3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (1,570 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Emma Donoghue Narrator: James Langton, Khristine Hvam, Robert Petkoff, Suzanne Toren, Dion Graham Publisher: Hachette Book Group Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: October 2012 ISBN: 9781611134216
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The fascinating characters that roam across the pages of Emma Donoghue’s stories have all gone astray: they are emigrants, runaways, drifters, lovers old and new. They are gold miners and counterfeiters, attorneys and slaves. They cross other borders too: those of race, law, sex, and sanity. They travel for love or money, incognito or under duress.

With rich historical detail, the celebrated author of Room takes us from puritan Massachusetts to revolutionary New Jersey, antebellum Louisiana to the Toronto highway, lighting up four centuries of wanderings that have profound echoes in the present. Astray offers us a surprising and moving history for restless times.

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Quotes & Awards

  • This book demonstrates once again that there's little she can't do well; indeed, the afterword is as moving as the stories....The short story can be a precious, self-enclosed form, but in Donoghue's bold hands, it crosses continents and centuries to claim kinship with many kinds of people.... Another exciting change of pace from the protean Donoghue. Kirkus Reviews
  • ...Masterful.... Revolutionary-era New Jersey, Civil War-era Texas, the gold rush Yukon, and many other settings come to life in this wonderfully imaginative, transporting collection. Kristine Huntley, Booklist (Starred Review)
  • Donoghue applies her talents for characterization and depth of feeling over and over again as she documents restless wanderers and lost souls across four generations, each in a world as strange and real as the last. Emily Temple, Flavorpill
  • Donoghue's affinity for yesteryear's untold tales is charming, and her talent for dialect is hard to overstate, which is why it's the first-person stories in ASTRAY that shine brightest....Each and every one of Donoghue's characters leaves an impression. Time
  • Donoghue establishes a distinct voice and person [and] the stories are vivid, curious, and honest... Publishers Weekly
  • "[The] tales...feel like discoveries, stories that were waiting to be told. Stephan Lee, Entertainment Weekly
  • This collection is filled with such acts of imaginative sympathy-each chiseling all that one can, from what Donoghue aptly describes as 'the shadowy mass of all that's been lost.' Mike Fischer, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
  • The stories are taut, vivid and memorable, and the collection reveals Donoghue's remarkable gift for placing herself in the minds of people who otherwise might be lost to history. Margaret Quamme, The Columbus Dispatch
  • The stories are showcases for a wide range of speaking voices studded with period vernacular. Sam Sacks, The Wall Street Journal
  • Fans of... Room will recognize the same imaginative flexibility and ventriloquism in ASTRAY, only multiplied and lightly patinated.... A refreshing break from the trend of linked collections; each story is entirely discrete, and strong enough to be read in isolation. Holloway McCandless, Shelf Awareness
  • Haunting.... These seekers and their stories pull you in-and stir your heart. People (4 stars)
  • Splendid.... "[An] original and compelling collection. Mameve Medwed, The Boston Globe
  • From England, Canada and the United States, Donoghue has created a restless world of travelers, finders and seekers, as well as a book that is an interactive narrative hybrid, one that gets us lost in other lives, that probes our history, that reveals the artist behind the word and that ultimately shows us something fresh, unsettling and enduring about ourselves. Caroline Leavitt, The San Francisco Chronicle
  • “Time and again, Emma Donoghue writes books that are unlike anything I have ever seen before, and Astray is no exception. There is such a deep and compassionate imagination at work in every story in this collection that Astray feels almost like an act of clairvoyance.”

    Ann Patchett, New York Times bestselling author of Bel Canto

  • Donoghue establishes a distinct voice and person [and] the stories are vivid, curious, and honest... Publishers Weekly
  • "[The] tales...feel like discoveries, stories that were waiting to be told. Stephan Lee, Entertainment Weekly
  • Reading ASTRAY is a bit like watching a magician create a wondrous illusion before you and then reveal a few enticing hints as to how she did it. Tarra Gaines, Houston Cultural Map
  • A well-written collection of short stories that go back and forth between despair and hope. Bobby Blanchard, The Daily Texan
  • Donoghue breathes life into stories that seem like nothing more than footnotes in the grand scheme of history, but are important reminders of all the little things we miss looking at the big picture. Sharra Rosichan, The Tennessean
  • Her new and splendid collection...is all about breaking through barriers. Boston Globe
  • These stories are striking for their range and freedom.... One senses cumulatively throughout this book the capacious curiosity of Emma Donoghue's mind, and the breadth of her knowledge.... Never dull, these stories illuminate worlds like a magic lantern....Donoghue's imagination can alight upon almost anything and revivify it. Claire Messud, The New York Review of Books
  • ASTRAY is an exceptional uniting of history and imagination. Jake Cline, The Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel
  • A beautifully rendered collection of hauntingly vivid short stories.... Redolent with historical details, Donoghue's tales are enthralling.... Each story is so complete that there's a sense of mourning as one comes to a close, but also a thrill as to what she will come up with next.... She could not have assembled a richer cast of characters. We sense Donoghue's compassion for all of them-even the least appealing ones like the ultra-judgmental Englishman who settles in Yarmouth or the Illinois counterfeiters who conspired to steal Abraham Lincoln's corpse. Gorgeously written and thoroughly engrossing, ASTRAY captures the uncertainty and complexity of settling into unknown turf. The voices of her characters reverberate in our heads, long after putting the book down. Claudia Puig, USA Today (4 stars)
  • [Donoghue is] one of those rare literary alchemists who can deliver a story that is both sensationally suspenseful and richly satisfying in the artistry of its sentences and the depth and seriousness of its themes. Ed Tarkington and Chapter16.org, Nashville Scene
  • Emma Donoghue's characters seem thoroughly unique and alive. Tobias Carroll, Time Out New York
  • Illuminating.... [and] affecting... Eileen Weiner, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
  • The characters in Emma Donoghue's solid collection ASTRAY are on the move and similarly are sure to move readers. Natalie Danford, American Way
  • A strong collection.... Donoghue is first rate.... Real people can't go backward, but writers can, and Donoghue does so with great success. Susan Balée, The Hudson Review
  • Time and again, Emma Donoghue writes books that are unlike anything I have ever seen before, and ASTRAY is no exception. There is such a deep and compassionate imagination at work in every story in this collection that ASTRAY feels almost like an act of clairvoyance. -Ann Patchett, author of State of Wonder
  • The author of Room displays her mastery at inventing the speech of the most unlikely characters in this story collection.... How do people sound? That's one of the primary concerns of a writer. Get that right, and everything follows. Donoghue gets it right, as anyone who's read Room would know.... Donoghue reads like she takes a dry eraser and deletes chunks of letters and words-there's something constantly missing, and parts of the world are a mystery. But isn't that how we think to ourselves, as Joyce demonstrated, skipping over the river of thoughts and refusing to bother explaining the obvious or the visual? With such ingenuity, Donoghue achieves the effect of creating magic and wonder in the real world. To follow Donoghue into the unknown is one of the most pleasurable experiences I can think of. Jimmy So, The Daily Beast
  • "Wildly informative and engaging.... Donoghue...throws the windows of the world open in fourteen stories of wanderlust, exploration, and possibilities promised by new and unknown lands.... By giving us true stories of wanderers and vagabonds in search of broader vistas, Donoghue has given narrative weight to both the journey and the destination. And in offering up history newly made into stories, Donoghue makes the journey of literary reinvention into its own reward. Jessica Freeman-Slade, The Millions
  • In...ASTRAY...imagination becomes possibility.... Moving through the centuries with her short stories, Donoghue turns everyday situations and period-piece slice-of-life situations into something of which O. Henry and Paul Harvey would be proud. Indeed, some of these tales start with a little sleight of word, poking our emotions in one way, then slowly twisting them into another direction before giving us the real story. You never know where these tales will end, and that's a good thing. Terri Schlichenmeyer, Washington Blade
  • A marvel of imagination, in which Donoghue utilizes items she's found over the years...to create unforgettable stories about change... Nina Sankovitch, The Huffington Post
  • "Wildly informative and engaging.... Donoghue...throws the windows of the world open in fourteen stories of wanderlust, exploration, and possibilities promised by new and unknown lands.... By giving us true stories of wanderers and vagabonds in search of broader vistas, Donoghue has given narrative weight to both the journey and the destination. And in offering up history newly made into stories, Donoghue makes the journey of literary reinvention into its own reward. Jessica Freeman-Slade, The Millions
  • In...ASTRAY...imagination becomes possibility.... Moving through the centuries with her short stories, Donoghue turns everyday situations and period-piece slice-of-life situations into something of which O. Henry and Paul Harvey would be proud. Indeed, some of these tales start with a little sleight of word, poking our emotions in one way, then slowly twisting them into another direction before giving us the real story. You never know where these tales will end, and that's a good thing. Terri Schlichenmeyer, Washington Blade
  • A marvel of imagination, in which Donoghue utilizes items she's found over the years...to create unforgettable stories about change... Nina Sankovitch, The Huffington Post
  • Time and again, Emma Donoghue writes books that are unlike anything I have ever seen before, and ASTRAY is no exception. There is such a deep and compassionate imagination at work in every story in this collection that ASTRAY feels almost like an act of clairvoyance. -Ann Patchett, author of State of Wonder
  • A beautifully rendered collection of hauntingly vivid short stories.... Redolent with historical details, Donoghue's tales are enthralling.... Each story is so complete that there's a sense of mourning as one comes to a close, but also a thrill as to what she will come up with next.... She could not have assembled a richer cast of characters. We sense Donoghue's compassion for all of them-even the least appealing ones like the ultra-judgmental Englishman who settles in Yarmouth or the Illinois counterfeiters who conspired to steal Abraham Lincoln's corpse. Gorgeously written and thoroughly engrossing, ASTRAY captures the uncertainty and complexity of settling into unknown turf. The voices of her characters reverberate in our heads, long after putting the book down. Claudia Puig, USA Today (4 stars)
  • [Donoghue is] one of those rare literary alchemists who can deliver a story that is both sensationally suspenseful and richly satisfying in the artistry of its sentences and the depth and seriousness of its themes. Ed Tarkington and Chapter16.org, Nashville Scene
  • Emma Donoghue's characters seem thoroughly unique and alive. Tobias Carroll, Time Out New York
  • Illuminating.... [and] affecting... Eileen Weiner, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
  • The characters in Emma Donoghue's solid collection ASTRAY are on the move and similarly are sure to move readers. Natalie Danford, American Way
  • A strong collection.... Donoghue is first rate.... Real people can't go backward, but writers can, and Donoghue does so with great success. Susan Balée, The Hudson Review
  • The author of Room displays her mastery at inventing the speech of the most unlikely characters in this story collection.... How do people sound? That's one of the primary concerns of a writer. Get that right, and everything follows. Donoghue gets it right, as anyone who's read Room would know.... Donoghue reads like she takes a dry eraser and deletes chunks of letters and words-there's something constantly missing, and parts of the world are a mystery. But isn't that how we think to ourselves, as Joyce demonstrated, skipping over the river of thoughts and refusing to bother explaining the obvious or the visual? With such ingenuity, Donoghue achieves the effect of creating magic and wonder in the real world. To follow Donoghue into the unknown is one of the most pleasurable experiences I can think of. Jimmy So, The Daily Beast
  • Emma Donoghue is one of the great literary ventriloquists of our time. Her imagination is kaleidoscopic. She steps borders and boundaries with great ease and style. In her hands the centuries dissolve, and then they crystallize back again into powerful words on the page. Colum McCann, author of Let the Great World Spin
  • Emma Donoghue is one of the great literary ventriloquists of our time. Her imagination is kaleidoscopic. She steps borders and boundaries with great ease and style. In her hands the centuries dissolve, and then they crystallize back again into powerful words on the page. Colum McCann, author of Let the Great World Spin
  • This book demonstrates once again that there's little she can't do well; indeed, the afterword is as moving as the stories....The short story can be a precious, self-enclosed form, but in Donoghue's bold hands, it crosses continents and centuries to claim kinship with many kinds of people.... Another exciting change of pace from the protean Donoghue. Kirkus Reviews
  • ...Masterful.... Revolutionary-era New Jersey, Civil War-era Texas, the gold rush Yukon, and many other settings come to life in this wonderfully imaginative, transporting collection. Kristine Huntley, Booklist (Starred Review)
  • Donoghue applies her talents for characterization and depth of feeling over and over again as she documents restless wanderers and lost souls across four generations, each in a world as strange and real as the last. Emily Temple, Flavorpill
  • Donoghue's affinity for yesteryear's untold tales is charming, and her talent for dialect is hard to overstate, which is why it's the first-person stories in ASTRAY that shine brightest....Each and every one of Donoghue's characters leaves an impression. Time
  • This collection is filled with such acts of imaginative sympathy-each chiseling all that one can, from what Donoghue aptly describes as 'the shadowy mass of all that's been lost.' Mike Fischer, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
  • The stories are taut, vivid and memorable, and the collection reveals Donoghue's remarkable gift for placing herself in the minds of people who otherwise might be lost to history. Margaret Quamme, The Columbus Dispatch
  • The stories are showcases for a wide range of speaking voices studded with period vernacular. Sam Sacks, The Wall Street Journal
  • Fans of... Room will recognize the same imaginative flexibility and ventriloquism in ASTRAY, only multiplied and lightly patinated.... A refreshing break from the trend of linked collections; each story is entirely discrete, and strong enough to be read in isolation. Holloway McCandless, Shelf Awareness
  • Haunting.... These seekers and their stories pull you in-and stir your heart. People (4 stars)
  • Splendid.... "[An] original and compelling collection. Mameve Medwed, The Boston Globe
  • From England, Canada and the United States, Donoghue has created a restless world of travelers, finders and seekers, as well as a book that is an interactive narrative hybrid, one that gets us lost in other lives, that probes our history, that reveals the artist behind the word and that ultimately shows us something fresh, unsettling and enduring about ourselves. Caroline Leavitt, The San Francisco Chronicle
  • Sensitive and intuitive...moves fearlessly between centuries and between genders.... Donoghue displays a ventriloquist's uncanny ability to slip in and out of voices....[and she] reveals them all, in their place of exile, with gentle yet devastating truth. Brooke Allen, The New York Times Book Review
  • Donoghue is...something of a literary archaeologist, speaking in voices that have been lost.... Donoghue's empathic imagination is remarkable...so convincing[] that the reader feels these stories could be actual historical narratives. Patricia Hagen, Minneapolis Star Tribune
  • A rich roster of tales [and] a real adventure in reading.... Donoghue's gift for storytelling is remarkable.... Sandy Leonard, Lambda Literary
  • Donoghue is gifted at imagining narrators from all walks of life.... Anyone who appreciates a well-told tale will enjoy these 14 short stories. It's perfect for the bedside table or the quiet commute-rich tales by a writer near the top of her game. Rob Merrill, Associated Press
  • Gentle yet devastating... The New York Times Book Review (Editors' Choice)
  • Donoghue's ASTRAY masters the long reach of short tales.... What is most impressive about these stories is her ability to plumb historical footnotes for timeless emotional resonance and reanimate 'real people who left traces in the historical record.' Heller McAlpin, The Washington Post
  • [An] intriguing new story collection...Change is inevitable for the migrant-and for us all. In ASTRAY, Donoghue makes us tremble at the idea and revel in its possibilities. Connie Ogle, The Miami Herald
  • We were interested to see if [Donoghue's] third-person narration skills translated well into the oftentimes more complicated vernacular of adults hailing from different eras and different corners of the globe.... In our opinion, she succeeded. The Huffington Post
  • Dazzling.... [A]ll the voices are so distinct, the plots so diverse, that the reading experience is a bit like nibbling from a long, strange, trippy literary buffet. Comedy, history, legal drama, political intrigue, adventure...all served up side by side in one volume. It's wonderful. Maggie Galehouse, The Houston Chronicle
  • Sensitive and intuitive...moves fearlessly between centuries and between genders.... Donoghue displays a ventriloquist's uncanny ability to slip in and out of voices....[and she] reveals them all, in their place of exile, with gentle yet devastating truth. Brooke Allen, The New York Times Book Review
  • Donoghue is...something of a literary archaeologist, speaking in voices that have been lost.... Donoghue's empathic imagination is remarkable...so convincing[] that the reader feels these stories could be actual historical narratives. Patricia Hagen, Minneapolis Star Tribune
  • A rich roster of tales [and] a real adventure in reading.... Donoghue's gift for storytelling is remarkable.... Sandy Leonard, Lambda Literary
  • Donoghue is gifted at imagining narrators from all walks of life.... Anyone who appreciates a well-told tale will enjoy these 14 short stories. It's perfect for the bedside table or the quiet commute-rich tales by a writer near the top of her game. Rob Merrill, Associated Press
  • Gentle yet devastating... The New York Times Book Review (Editors' Choice)
  • Donoghue's ASTRAY masters the long reach of short tales.... What is most impressive about these stories is her ability to plumb historical footnotes for timeless emotional resonance and reanimate 'real people who left traces in the historical record.' Heller McAlpin, The Washington Post
  • [An] intriguing new story collection...Change is inevitable for the migrant-and for us all. In ASTRAY, Donoghue makes us tremble at the idea and revel in its possibilities. Connie Ogle, The Miami Herald
  • We were interested to see if [Donoghue's] third-person narration skills translated well into the oftentimes more complicated vernacular of adults hailing from different eras and different corners of the globe.... In our opinion, she succeeded. The Huffington Post
  • Dazzling.... [A]ll the voices are so distinct, the plots so diverse, that the reading experience is a bit like nibbling from a long, strange, trippy literary buffet. Comedy, history, legal drama, political intrigue, adventure...all served up side by side in one volume. It's wonderful. Maggie Galehouse, The Houston Chronicle
  • Reading ASTRAY is a bit like watching a magician create a wondrous illusion before you and then reveal a few enticing hints as to how she did it. Tarra Gaines, Houston Cultural Map
  • A well-written collection of short stories that go back and forth between despair and hope. Bobby Blanchard, The Daily Texan
  • Donoghue breathes life into stories that seem like nothing more than footnotes in the grand scheme of history, but are important reminders of all the little things we miss looking at the big picture. Sharra Rosichan, The Tennessean
  • Her new and splendid collection...is all about breaking through barriers. Boston Globe
  • These stories are striking for their range and freedom.... One senses cumulatively throughout this book the capacious curiosity of Emma Donoghue's mind, and the breadth of her knowledge.... Never dull, these stories illuminate worlds like a magic lantern....Donoghue's imagination can alight upon almost anything and revivify it. Claire Messud, The New York Review of Books
  • ASTRAY is an exceptional uniting of history and imagination. Jake Cline, The Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel
  • “Emma Donoghue is one of the great literary ventriloquists of our time. Her imagination is kaleidoscopic. She steps borders and boundaries with great ease and style. In her hands the centuries dissolve, and then they crystallize back again into powerful words on the page.”

    Colum McCann, National Book Award–winning author

  • “These stories are striking for their range and freedom…One senses cumulatively throughout this book the capacious curiosity of Emma Donoghue’s mind and the breadth of her knowledge…Never dull, these stories illuminate worlds like a magic lantern…Donoghue’s imagination can alight upon almost anything and revivify it.”

    New York Review of Books

  • “Donoghue breathes life into stories that seem like nothing more than footnotes in the grand scheme of history but are important reminders of all the little things we miss looking at the big picture.”

    The Tennessean

  • “A beautifully rendered collection of hauntingly vivid short stories.”

    USA Today (4 stars)

  • “Splendid…An original and compelling collection.”

    Boston Globe

  • “Haunting…These seekers and their stories pull you in—and stir your heart.”

    People (four stars)

  • “The tales…feel like discoveries, stories that were waiting to be told.”

    Entertainment Weekly

  • “Donoghue’s Astray masters the long reach of short tales…What is most impressive about these stories is her ability to plumb historical footnotes for timeless emotional resonance and reanimate ‘real people who left traces in the historical record.’”

    Washington Post

  • “From England, Canada, and the United States, Donoghue has created a restless world of travelers, finders, and seekers, as well as a book that is an interactive narrative hybrid, one that gets us lost in other lives, that probes our history, that reveals the artist behind the word, and that ultimately shows us something fresh, unsettling, and enduring about ourselves.”

    San Francisco Chronicle

  • “Donoghue achieves the effect of creating magic and wonder in the real world. To follow Donoghue into the unknown is one of the most pleasurable experiences I can think of.”

    Daily Beast

  • “Donoghue’s affinity for yesteryear’s untold tales is charming, and her talent for dialect is hard to overstate, which is why it’s the first-person stories in Astray that shine brightest…Each and every one of Donoghue’s characters leaves an impression.”

    Time

  • “The stories are showcases for a wide range of speaking voices studded with period vernacular.”

    Wall Street Journal

  • “Dazzling…All the voices are so distinct, the plots so diverse, that the reading experience is a bit like nibbling from a long, strange, trippy literary buffet. Comedy, history, legal drama, political intrigue, adventure…all served up side by side in one volume. It’s wonderful.”

    Houston Chronicle

  • “Donoghue is gifted at imagining narrators from all walks of life…Anyone who appreciates a well-told tale will enjoy these fourteen short stories. It’s perfect for the bedside table or the quiet commute—rich tales by a writer near the top of her game.”

    Associated Press

  • “Emma Donoghue’s characters seem thoroughly unique and alive.”

    Time Out New York

  • “An intriguing new story collection…Change is inevitable for the migrant—and for us all. In Astray, Donoghue makes us tremble at the idea and revel in its possibilities.”

    Miami Herald

  • “We were interested to see if Donoghue’s third-person narration skills translated well into the oftentimes more complicated vernacular of adults hailing from different eras and different corners of the globe…In our opinion, she succeeded.”

    Huffington Post

  • “Donoghue is…something of a literary archaeologist, speaking in voices that have been lost…Donoghue’s empathic imagination is remarkable…so convincing that the reader feels these stories could be actual historical narratives.”

    Minneapolis Star Tribune

  • “This collection is filled with such acts of imaginative sympathy—each chiseling all that one can, from what Donoghue aptly describes as ‘the shadowy mass of all that’s been lost.’”

    Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

  • “A well-written collection of short stories that go back and forth between despair and hope.”

    The Daily Texan

  • “Sensitive and intuitive…Moves fearlessly between centuries and between genders…Donoghue displays a ventriloquist’s uncanny ability to slip in and out of voices…and she reveals them all, in their place of exile, with gentle yet devastating truth.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “The stories are taut, vivid, and memorable, and the collection reveals Donoghue’s remarkable gift for placing herself in the minds of people who otherwise might be lost to history.”

    Columbus Dispatch

  • Astray is an exceptional uniting of history and imagination.”

    Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel

  • “Donoghue establishes a distinct voice and person and the stories are vivid, curious, and honest.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Masterful…Revolutionary-era New Jersey, Civil War–era Texas, the gold rush Yukon, and many other settings come to life in this wonderfully imaginative, transporting collection.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “This book demonstrates once again that there’s little she can’t do well; indeed, the afterword is as moving as the stories…The short story can be a precious, self-enclosed form, but in Donoghue’s bold hands, it crosses continents and centuries to claim kinship with many kinds of people…Another exciting change of pace from the protean Donoghue.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “Each tale is based on an event or person whose story the author unearthed from an old newspaper or archive and is followed by information on some of the research involved. Many of these richly detailed shorts are told in the first person, and the fabulous cadre of narrators (James Langton, Khristine Hvam, Robert Petkoff, Suzanne Toren, and Dion Graham) bring these little gems vividly to life.”

    Library Journal

  • A New York Times Editor’s Choice
  • Selected for the November 2012 Indie Next List
  • Winner of an AudioFile Earphones Award
  • Winner of a 2013 Audie Award for Short Stories/Collections
  • A 2012 Barnes & Noble Best Book for Fiction
  • A 2012 San Francisco Chronicle Best Book for Fiction

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Julia Rotte | 2/16/2014

    " Short stories and vignettes sparked off historical facts or news articles that caught the author's eye - but you get the story first and the context later. A travel/misplacement-themed collection written in the most interesting voices. Nothing as daring as Room, but nevertheless highly skilled and imaginative. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Carrie | 2/5/2014

    " I don't typically enjoy short stories and only picked up this book because I really liked her book Room. But I actually enjoyed this book a lot (once I got into it). The idea for each of the stories came from some historical event/document/record, and that may be why I liked them. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mythili | 2/3/2014

    " Donoghue really picks some wonderful, unforgettable characters from history to bring to life here -- characters that will stay with me for a while. The stories are quick, and so the reader feels more like an entertained spectator than an invested party, but they're extremely vivid too. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Dona | 1/25/2014

    " By the last short story, I was totally taken in by the characters Donoghue created using newspaper and magazine accounts of individuals who lived during previous centuries as her inspiration. I wouldn't say there's a truly happy ending in the bunch, but each story is intriguing and contains a bit of a twist. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Teri | 1/20/2014

    " Original, a collection of short stories based on periodicals and historical records "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Meri | 1/17/2014

    " Another delightful work of historical fiction. In this collection, Emma Donoghue takes a piece of writing from the past--a letter, a news story, a diary--and turns it into a first person narrative. The stories she chooses range from unusual to archetypical, but she treats each one with style. Her voice is always believable, and the characters she invents are endearing. The theme of going astray doesn't shine through as much as the description would have you suggest, and I struggled to figure out how each character had done so. Once you think about it, almost every character in literature goes astray in some way or another. Other than the forced theme, I found this a pleasure to read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Marissa | 1/13/2014

    " Much different from what I normally read. I really liked the historical stories that were retold! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Annie Woznak | 1/11/2014

    " an interesting idea to base each short story on true events "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Autumn | 1/9/2014

    " I enjoyed most of the stories (there were three I skipped out of disinterest). I really liked that these were all historical fiction based on true events and/or people. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mary Jo | 12/16/2013

    " Some interesting stories, some others not so. Premise is "ripped from the headlines" from publications of 1700's and 1800's. The author took some interesting snippets and turned them into historical fictions. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kris | 12/15/2013

    " Wonderful collection of short stories based on fact..historical fiction. Let's you disappear into the past 200 years - the good and the bad. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Phemie London | 12/11/2013

    " A book of short stories - some were quite good but some were not - though unique how the stories were bases on true life incidents. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Heather | 12/3/2013

    " The book is well written but I wish it would have told me ahead of time it was a book of short stories. I didn't like the short stories because as soon as you became involved in the character the story was over. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Allison | 10/24/2013

    " I didn't realize (or forgot) this was a collection of short stories. I enjoyed it. I think I'd need to sit with it while not in the middle of a trans-Atlantic voyage in order to grasp the nuances linking the stories and the overall themes. But how appropriate to read it while in transit. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ida | 10/21/2013

    " loved this collection of short stories....highly recommend this book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tasha | 10/2/2013

    " Great concept, well executed. Fast and good read! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Sara | 9/17/2013

    " I hate short stories. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jennifer Ortiz | 7/30/2013

    " I'm not a huge fan of short stories, but was thoroughly impressed by the strength of Donoghue's short historical fictions and the way she carried a common thread throughout the collection. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Stacey | 6/27/2013

    " I wasn't sure about this book when I first started reading it. I actually almost put it down and returned it. However, I read the dust jacket again and kept at it. I am really glad I did. This is an interesting read and will make you think twice about historical headlines. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lyndsay | 4/15/2013

    " I enjoyed this collection of short stories because each story provided a source of inspiration at the end. I thought it was interesting to see the real-life inspiration for these fictional short stories. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Stephanie | 1/24/2013

    " I just can not get into this book and I have not even finished it. Normally I like Emma Donoghue but this was a disappointment for me. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nancy Dardarian | 11/23/2012

    " I love this book, the stories coming to life from a snippet of a news report. Really good book, i have been on a short story bingelately it seems. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 KL | 10/20/2012

    " I like where this book was going, but honestly I enjoyed the factual story about the people than the actual stories. Definitely a unique read! "

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About the Author
Author Emma Donoghue

Emma Donoghue, born in Dublin, is a writer of contemporary and historical fiction whose novels include the New York Times bestseller Room, which was a finalist for the Man Booker, Commonwealth, and Orange prizes. Her story collections are Touchy Subjects, The Woman Who Gave Birth to Rabbits, and Kissing the Witch, which was shortlisted for the Tiptree Award. She also writes literary history and plays for stage and radio.

About the Narrators

James Langton, born in York, England, trained as an actor at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. Winner of fourteen AudioFile Earphones Awards, he has performed many voice-overs and narrated numerous audiobooks, including the international bestsellers The Brotherhood of the Holy Shroud by Julia Navarro, The Virtues of War by Steven Pressfield, and The Demon’s Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan. He is also a professional musician who led the internationally renowned Pasadena Roof Orchestra from 1996 to 2002.

Khristine Hvam has won six AudioFile Earphones Awards, placed three times as a finalist for the prestigous Audie Award, and won the Audie for best narration in 2012 and 2013. She studied acting for the theater and film, and her voice can be heard in Pokémon, World of Warcraft, and in various television and radio commercials.

Robert Petkoff is an audiobook narrator who has won a prestigious Audie Award and twenty AudioFile Earphones Awards. He has appeared on Chappelle’s Show, Law & Order, and Quantum Leap. His Broadway credits include Sir Robin in Spamalot, Perchik in Fiddler on the Roof, and Tateh in Ragtime.

Suzanne Toren has recorded hundreds of audiobooks and has earned twenty-nine Earphones Awards from AudioFile magazine. She has received the Narrator of the Year Award for her audiobook recordings for the Library of Congress. She has performed on Broadway and in regional theaters in works penned by Shakespeare, Molière, and Arthur Miller. She has also appeared on Law & Order and in various soap operas.

Dion Graham, from HBO’s The Wire, also narrates The First 48 on A&E. Winner of more than a dozen Earphones Awards and the prestigious Audie Award for best narration, he has performed on Broadway, off Broadway, internationally, in films, and in several hit television series. His performances have been praised as thoughtful and compelling, vivid and full of life.