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Astray    by Emma Donoghue order for
by Emma Donoghue
Order:  USA  Can
Little, Brown & Co., 2012 (2012)
Hardcover, Softcover, CD, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Barbara Lingens

A collection of neatly-written short stories, Astray showcases some telling incidents from early North American times. Author Emma Donoghue has taken fragments of history and expanded them into complete tales with truly original characters.

The stories, though divided into broad topics - Departures, In Transit and Arrivals and Aftermaths - are all over the place. We have disgruntled men, women, children and even an elephant! Prostitutes, murderers, gamblers and more people these narratives. For me, one of the most moving was that of the Irish couple, separated while the husband emigrates to Canada to find his fortune, while the wife waits at home. Their reunion makes the heart ache.

I like it that at the end of each tale Donoghue gives us the source of the story and tells us where she took license. We have here a sure and accomplished writing style and some lively stories.

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