Sunday, October 3, 2010

Magic of an intense universe

Evocative language plays a big part in the telling of this haunting tale about the real world...

Emma Donoghue's Room is one of the six books shortlisted for the 2010 Booker, and certainly the tale of little Jack and his Ma is remarkably well-wrought, and good reading from start to finish. Room is unusual for several reasons, but the most interesting of these is that the language it uses is largely that of a five-year old boy, thus making the narration also an exploration into language and how a writer works at crafting things out of it.

Room is about five-year-old Jack and his mother, ‘Ma.' It's also about Old Nick — the man who kidnapped Ma, when she was 19, keeping her confined in a fortified garden shed, raping her repeatedly over the years that she's been in there. But make no mistake, Room is not a rape and confinement tale because the story-teller is little Jack and the story tells of what he makes of the world. In effect, for the reader, there is always a certain distance from Ma and what she's been living with; we see her as Jack sees her: all he knows of Old Nick is that he comes at night, by which time he's usually “switched off in Wardrobe.” On the occasions when he is not, he can hear Old Nick making the bed creak and he counts the creaks to make him fall asleep. We know what the creaks are of course, but we have no idea what the count will be, and when it comes in, in Jack's child's voice, make no mistake, it's shocking.

Full report here Hindu

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