I finished reading Room by Emma Donoghue last night. I can’t recall a reading experience so intense: I didn’t move?literally?for two and a half hours, not until I’d come to the end. And then I stumbled around for a bit, stunned.
The novel is told from the point-of-view of a five-year-old. I’ve read in an interview that Emma Donoghue studied the language patterns of her own five-year-old child to create the voice for this story. She profoundly succeeds, but what is her true accomplishment, in my view, is her ability to see (or appear to see) from the point-of-view of a child?a child born and raised in captivity.
Room has garnered a bouquet of raves from fine writers, such as this one from Michael Cunningham, author of The Hours:
“Room is that rarest of entities, an entirely original work of art. I mean it as the highest possible praise when I tell you that I can’t compare it to any other book. Suffice to say that it’s potent, darkly beautiful, and revelatory.”
I agree. It is also charming, as well as enchanting.
As a writer, it reinforced, for me, the importance of the imagination, of imaginative penetration into the world of ones characters. The first enchantment must be the author’s own.