Sunday, February 20, 2011
I just finished Emma Donoghue's novel, "Room." I highly recommend it. The book is narrated by five-year-old Jack who lives with his young mother inside Room. They are being held captive by a man whom Jack calls "Old Nick." Jack's mother, wanting to spare him the pain of knowing that he's not free, has convinced him that "everything" is contained within Room's four walls. Outside is nothing. Space. But she's taught him how to read, how to do math. Science.
It starts, "Today I'm five. I was four last night going to sleep in Wardrobe, but when I wake up in Bed in the dark, I'm changed to five, abracadabra. Before that I was three, then two, then one, then zero."
Then he asks his ma, "Was I minus numbers?"
Because Jack's entire world is that room, there is not a rug or a wardrobe; there is only Rug and Wardrobe. The narrative voice is sustained throughout the whole novel. We see Old Nick come in nightly through Jack's eyes (he's in Wardrobe, trying to sleep but instead counting the number of times the bed creaks). We are amazed that his mother is able to keep Jack's optimism up, when she is repeatedly victimized. "Room" was a great read from beginning to end.
I continue to push forward with my own writing. I've topped 10,000 words in my own would-be novel (40ish pages); I've got another interview with my grandmother recorded and which needs to be transcribed; and my collaboration moves forward.