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The Pull of the Stars
“Listening to this novel about the 1918 influenza pandemic during the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic was a bit of a surreal experience yet so powerful and insightful. Donoghue condenses these characters' lifetimes into just three days, and I found myself thinking about and missing them long after I had finished the book. Bonus: The actor reading it has such a lovely Irish accent.”Shirley,
“You might think reading a historical novel about the 1918 flu pandemic is leaning in a bit too much as we experience the COVID19 global pandemic, but what Donoghue has done with THE PULL OF THE STARS is to allow us to pull back, reexamine, and frame what we are living through today with what happened one hundred years ago. This book tells the story of 3 days in a maternity ward in Dublin, Ireland from the viewpoint of the midwife tasked with taking care of pregnant women with the flu. As we have come to expect from Donoghue's historical fiction, the detail is fascinatingly intense, the characters quite remarkable, and the story immersive.”Rachel,
“I listened to the audiobook of "The Pull of the Stars" by Emma Donoghue and was immediately pulled into the intense and vivid surroundings of a hospital ward in 1918 Dublin. It is the height of the flu epidemic and pregnant women who have the flu are quarantined together. Life goes on as babies are born and solutions found in spite of an understaffed hospital. It rings very true considering our own world pandemic at the present time.”Nona,
“Dark and gritty, interesting relatable in a pandemic-consumed world, with glimpses of hope and love shining through. An intense book that stays with you for some time after.”Tina,
Leaves Book and Tea Shop
“I don’t often read general fiction. But when I do, it is often Emma Donoghue. Her books Room and Akin where great stories and I was certain so would The Pull of the Stars be. I was not disappointed. I was enthralled by it from beginning to end and I hope you all love it as much as I did! Three days… that is the entirety of the book. And yet, so much happens. It was an emotional journey. Almost entirely on her own, Nurse Julia has to combat influenza and try to deliver healthy babies without losing their mothers. Even though the struggles at that maternity ward would have been enough to keep you on your toes while reading, Emma Donoghue also brings to light other social issues- the aversion to contraception, social pressure to give away your baby if you are unmarried, sexual and physical abuse, a sadly high maternity mortality rate, the pandemic itself, and the horrors of the war.”Anne,
“Donoghue's latest novel, set in Dublin in 1918 during the Spanish flu outbreak, feels all too close to the reality of the 2020 pandemic. nurse Julia Powers is overworked in her maternity ward at the city hospital, as resources and beds run short. Through her interactions with the pregnant women in her care, doctors, and an enthusiastic assistant, she reflects on the state of her patients, country, and her own life, as well as the circumstances which influenced them. Donoghue deftly incorporates a sweep of heavy subjects relevant to Julia in her position, in a considerate and wholly breathtaking way. Emma Lowe's narration for the audiobook is so fitting, as well.”Cat,
In Dublin, 1918, a maternity ward at the height of the Great Flu is a small world of work, risk, death, and unlooked-for love, in "Donoghue's best novel since Room" (Kirkus Reviews).
In an Ireland doubly ravaged by war and disease, Nurse Julia Power works at an understaffed hospital in the city center, where expectant mothers who have come down with the terrible new Flu are quarantined together. Into Julia's regimented world step two outsiders—Doctor Kathleen Lynn, a rumoured Rebel on the run from the police, and a young volunteer helper, Bridie Sweeney.
In the darkness and intensity of this tiny ward, over three days, these women change each other's lives in unexpected ways. They lose patients to this baffling pandemic, but they also shepherd new life into a fearful world. With tireless tenderness and humanity, carers and mothers alike somehow do their impossible work.
In The Pull of the Stars, Emma Donoghue once again finds the light in the darkness in this new classic of hope and survival against all odds.