Eleven-year-old Anna has eaten nothing and drunk only ‘clear water’ for four months. Yet she is in miraculously good health. Some think that Anna is indeed a miracle. Others are sure that she is a fraud. The local doctor thinks that Anna represents the next stage of human evolution and has moved beyond the need for food. Emma Donoghue is refreshingly unafraid to draw up battle lines between right and wrong. What seems at first an even-handed discussion of conflicting systems of thought – religion, superstition, science – gradually reveals itself as a scalding indictment of the most senseless aspects of faith, especially Catholicism.
Set in ‘the dead centre’ of Ireland over the course of two weeks in the mid-19th century, The Wonder is Emma Donoghue’s ninth novel. Elizabeth Wright, or Lib, is a ‘Nightingale’, a nurse trained by the celebrated ‘Miss N’ in Crimea. Any suspicion that the reader is to be