Astray

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What to expect

This fascinating, fact-inspired fiction collection from Emma Donoghue, author of the bestselling Room, is a sequence of fourteen stories about travels to, in, and from North America.

With the turn of each page, the characters that roam across these pages go astray. They are emigrants, runaways, drifters; gold miners and counterfeiters, attorneys and slaves. They cross borders of race, law, sex, and sanity. They travel for love or money, under duress or incognito.

Donoghue describes the brutal plot hatched by a slave in conjunction with his master’s wife to set them both free, and takes us to an early Puritan community in Massachusetts unsettled by an invented sex scandal. Astray also includes ‘The Hunt’, a shocking confession of one soldier’s violent betrayal during the American Revolution, which was shortlisted for the Sunday Times Short Story Award.

These strange, true tales light up four centuries of wanderings, offering a past in scattered pieces, and a surprising and moving history for restless times.

Critics Review

  • Emma Donoghue writes books that are unlike anything I have ever seen before, and Astray is no exception. There is such a deep and compassionate imagination at work in every story in this collection that Astray feels almost like an act of clairvoyance.

    Ann Patchett, Orange prize-winning author of Bel Canto

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