Dunedin Athenaeum & Mechanics Institute

For people passionate about words

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Recent books

The Wonder by Emma Donoghue (November 2016)

The Wonder by Emma Donoghue (November 2016)Reviewed on Wireless Books Otago Access Radio 105.4 FM 12 Nov 2016 also on podcast.

Lib Wright, a young English nures, arrives in an impoverished Irish village on a strange mission.  Eleven-year-old Anna O'Donnell is said to have eaten nothing for months but appears to be thriving miraculously.  With tourists thronging to see the child, and the press sowing doubt, the baffled community looks to an outsider to bring the facts to light.  Lib's job is simple: to watch the girl and uncover the truth.

An educated sceptic, trained by the legendary Florence Nightingale and repelled by what she sees as ignorance and superstition, Lib expects to expose the fast as a hoax right away.  But as she gets to know the girl, over the long days they spend together, Lib becomes more and more unsure.  Is Anna a fraud, or a 'living wonder'?  Or is something more sinister unfolding right before Lib's eyes, a tragedy in which she herself is playing a part?

Written with all the propulsive tension that transported readers of Room, The Wonder is a haunting psychological thriller about the lengths we go to for the love of a child.
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