Room

1/21/2011

2 Comments

 
Like Aristotle, I'm a fan of confined narratives, so I was excited to read Emma Donoghue's new novel Room. The novel is narrated by a 5-year-old boy, Jack, who lives with his mother locked in a soundproof shed. She was kidnapped and installed there at age 19; he was born two years later, and as the novel opens, as far as he's concerned, everything beyond "Door" is Outer Space.

(Minor spoilers ahead.)

The first half of the novel meets the dual challenges: sustaining interest in a small child's narration, and in dramatizing the details of room (in the acknowledgments the author thanks her brother-in-law for his "unnervingly insightful advice on the practicalities of Room.") The middle passage of the book is both frightening and affecting. I was really rooting for the details of police work. It assuaged some of the frustration I accumulated while watching The Wire.

The point, I think, is that people want to revert to their conditions of comfort and control, even when those conditions are horrifying and the control isn't theirs. (Or as a pretentious TV pundit puts it: "The inner child, trapped in our personal Room one oh one.") Both Jack and his mother flail when separated, but his mother has it particularly hard; she has to take control, whereas he only has to receive it. "You know who you belong to, Jack?...Yourself," the child is asked. His unspoken response: "He's wrong, actually. I belong to Ma." 

 


06/28/2012 05:17

Nice blog about the room.Thanks for the blog post.

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09/08/2012 00:08

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