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Dramatic,
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5 reviews

The Wonder
by Emma Donoghue

Published: 2016-09-20
Hardcover : 304 pages
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71 clubs reading this now
4 members have read this book
Recommended to book clubs by 3 of 5 members
A 2016 Shirley Jackson Awards Finalist

*The latest masterpiece by Emma Donoghue, bestselling author of Room*

In the latest masterpiece by Emma Donoghue, bestselling author of Room, an English nurse brought to a small Irish village to observe what appears to be a miracle-a girl said to ...
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Introduction

A 2016 Shirley Jackson Awards Finalist

*The latest masterpiece by Emma Donoghue, bestselling author of Room*

In the latest masterpiece by Emma Donoghue, bestselling author of Room, an English nurse brought to a small Irish village to observe what appears to be a miracle-a girl said to have survived without food for months-soon finds herself fighting to save the child's life.

Tourists flock to the cabin of eleven-year-old Anna O'Donnell, who believes herself to be living off manna from heaven, and a journalist is sent to cover the sensation. Lib Wright, a veteran of Florence Nightingale's Crimean campaign, is hired to keep watch over the girl.

Written with all the propulsive tension that made Room a huge bestseller, THE WONDER works beautifully on many levels--a tale of two strangers who transform each other's lives, a powerful psychological thriller, and a story of love pitted against evil.
ACCLAIM FOR THE WONDER: "Deliciously gothic.... Dark and vivid, with complicated characters, this is a novel that lodges itself deep" (USA Today, 3/4 stars); "Heartbreaking and transcendent" (New York Times); "A fable as lean and discomfiting as Anna's dwindling body.... Donoghue keeps us riveted" (Chicago Tribune); "Donoghue poses powerful questions about faith and belief" (Newsday)

Editorial Review

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Excerpt

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Discussion Questions

1. How would you describe Lib Wright (consider the name, perhaps)—especially when we first meet her? How does she approach her move to Ireland, the people, superstitions, the food? When does it become evident that there is part of Lib's past she is not revealing to us? How reliable of a narrator is she?

2. Describe the Ireland that confronts Lib, the way in which Emma Donoghue presents the country in the 19th Century after the devastation of the infamous potato famine.

3. What about Anna O'Donnell? How does she differ from expectations, both yours and Lib's? When Lib first sees her, what is the state of Anna's health—does Lib find her as healthy as everyone claims she is?

4. Talk about the very complicated reasons for Anna's fasting. Is Anna too young to understand her decision? What responsibility do the family and the church have for Anna? What about the doctor's role?

5. As the days pass and Anna's condition deteriorates, Liz begins to feel she may be complicit in girl's demise. Is she?

6. Follow-up to Question #1: How does Lib change from who she was when she first ventured into Ireland? How would you describe her as you progress through the novel?

7. The novel brings up basic philosophical and religious questions, one of which is what it means to give up the most vital necessity of life in the name of something greater than yourself. Is it admirable, mad, selfish, narcissistic?

8. Follow-up to Question #7: What is the role of an outsider, like Lib? Does she have the right to intervene or an obligation to do so? What would you say or do to Anna?

9. The journalist asks Lib if she has "ever put to Ana, fair and square, that she must eat." Has Lib done so?

10. The novel has a gothic feel to it: spooky, menacing, even harrowing. What makes for the sinister atmosphere that pervades the novel?

11. Do you find interesting the clinical detail regarding the descriptions of Anna's symptoms and the theory and practice of nursing in the 19th century?

12. Discuss the book's title. What are the multiple meanings of "The Wonder"?

13. Do you see any parallels between this story and Donoghue's earlier book, Room? Think of small confined spaces, children, fragmented time, inner strength, and the power of love.

Thanks to LitLovers for the Questions

Notes From the Author to the Bookclub

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Member Reviews

Overall rating:
 
 
by dakelle (see profile) 07/18/20

 
by KarenUK (see profile) 12/12/19

 
by [email protected] (see profile) 11/03/19

We gave this a B-.

 
by mabook (see profile) 02/02/19

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