For her latest novel, Emma Donoghue plumbed history’s depths… and pulled out a pandemic. That The Pull of the Stars debuted during a global pandemic adds intrigue and delight to a story that succeeds mightily on its own merits.
In this video interview, the Irish-Canadian bestselling author, screenwriter, and playwright chats with Kirkus about the book (Little, Brown, July 21), which Kirkus calls, in a starred review, “Darkly compelling, illuminated by the light of compassion and tenderness: Donoghue’s best novel since Room.” She also discusses what it takes to write fiction based on actual events, what types of books you’ll find on her TBR, and more.
More about The Pull of the Stars from our review: “Julia Power works in Maternity/Fever, a supply room converted to handle pregnant women infected with the flu. The disease makes labor and delivery even more high risk than normal. On Oct. 31, 1918, Julia arrives to learn that one of her patients died in the night, and over the next two days we see her cope with three harrowing deliveries, only one of which ends well….Donoghue isn’t a showy writer, but her prose sings with blunt poetry, as in the exchange between Julia and [a hospital volunteer named] Bridie that gives the novel its title. Influenza gets its name from an old Italian belief that it was the influence of the stars that made you sick, Julia explains; Bridie responds, ‘As if, when it’s your time, your star gives you a yank.’ Their relationship forms the emotional core of a story rich in swift, assured sketches of achingly human characters coping as best they can in extreme circumstances.”