Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction, Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel, Post Colonial Asian Fiction, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality Historical Novels are Among my Interests

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

"Visiting Hours" by Emma Donoghue

"Visiting Hours" by Emma Donoghue (2011, 6 pages)

I first became aware of Emma Donoghue when she was shortlisted in 2010 for the novel, The Room.   I was not sure I would appreciate the content of this book, told from the point of view of a very young child held captive along with his mother by an abductor so I have not tried to read it yet.

Recently in order to expand my knowledge of contemporary Irish Short Stories, partially in preparation for Irish Short Stories Week Year II in March,  I purchased a Kindle edition of New Irish Short Stories (2011) selected and introduced by Joseph O'Connor.   His most recent novel, Ghost Light was picked as the Dublin "One City, One Book" selection for 2011.    "Visiting Hours" by Emma Donaghue was included in this collection so I was happy to be able to try out a story by her. (Dublin, 1969)

"Visiting Hours"  starts out in the newly born ward of a hospital.   The story is told from the point of view of one of the women working there.   The story focuses mostly on the narrators observations on the people in the ward.   The story is really in part about how her work has changed her perceptions.   You can see she is oriented toward result driven activities.   The narrative rhythm of the story also conveys this point.   At times I found the narrative voice a bit "sing songish" and forced but the story kept my attention for the six pages.   The style was interesting and there were lots of interesting and perceptive remarks made in passing.   I admit I still do not know if I would want to read Room but I now might.    I enjoyed this story a lot.

You can learn more about the writings of Donaghue at her webpage.

I hope you will consider joining us for Irish Short Stories Week in March.   All you will be asked to do is post on any Irish short story you like and let me know about it so we can all share in the experience.

Mel u


Anonymous said...

As you know, I'm not a short story person, but I will try and read an (or more) Irish story in March.

I'm planning to read Room very soon - I wasn't sure I'd like to read this either, but people keep saying what a great book it is.

JoAnn said...

Reading (well, listening in my case) to Room was quite an experience. I'd definitely give her short story a try - and I'll join you for Irish Short Story Week as well.

Reading Rambo said...

Of Donoghue's books I've read Kissing the Witch, Slammerkin, and Landing, all of which are EXTREMELY different. I'm rather impressed by her refusal to stay hemmed in by one genre. Room sounds like a difficult read indeed, but I've heard so many great things about it, I'm assuming it won't be a bad experience.

Kissing the Witch (collection of redone fairytales) has been my favorite so far.

Laura said...

I really loved Room! I definitely recommend it - I read 3 Donoghue books last year, and I loved all of them, so I'd definitely like to read some of her short stories!

Mel u said...

Lesswammes. It would be great to have you join us for ISSW Year Two

Laura I am very glad you will be joining us for iSSW also

Reading Rambo. kissing the Witch seems like a book I might really like. Thanks for the suggestion.

Laura. I hooe to read Room in 2012. Thanks much for your comment

Espana said...

"Room" involves the story of one such woman. Except it's not really about her ordeal. Instead the story is told through her five-year-old son Jack who was born in captivity two years after the woman he only calls Ma was snatched off the street.