The Pull of the Stars: A Novel Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
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 rumored 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.
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|Listening Length||9 hours and 6 minutes|
|Whispersync for Voice||Ready|
|Audible.com Release Date||July 21, 2020|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #15,000 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#3 in World War I Historical Fiction (Audible Books & Originals)
#19 in World War I Historical Fiction (Books)
#19 in LGBTQ+ Historical Fiction (Books)
Reviewed in the United States on August 30, 2020
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Top reviews from the United States
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The three women form a bond, working together against the flu and the hardships of the time, like ignorance and poor health generally. Another antagonistic force is the practice of sending poor, abandoned, or orphaned children to homes run by nuns, who get money for their keep but also starve them, abuse them, and gain profit from their labors. Bridie is one of these children, although in the story she's nearly grown. She and Nurse Julia work so well together, it's beautiful to see, and Dr. Lynn is their hero, although she's in a precarious position legally.
Some readers have commented on the fact the author writes dialogue without use of quotation marks. It's an odd practice, but you get used to it. Another author who did this in every book was the great Kent Haruf.
For anyone who's thinking this Covid pandemic is horrific, it's nothing compared to the flu as depicted in this novel. The author does a great job of placing us right there in the middle of it, and showing us the resilience and heroism of everyday people under enormous pressure. Uplifting.
Top reviews from other countries
I’ve always found Emma Donoghue’s books draw me in and don’t let me go, even after I’ve read the last page.
This is no exception. I started reading this morning and haven’t bothered to stop for lunch. Now it’s in my head and I’m going to be thinking about it for a long while.
The irony of our present existence isn’t lost on me. Perhaps it makes this story more poignant? I don’t know, but I do know I’m very glad I’ve read it and know I will read it again.
The links to the present COVID-19 pandemic are clear, though unintentional: Emma Donoghue wrote the novel in 2018, the centenary of the flu epidemic. The book focuses on the minute detail of a small compass of time (three days) and is mostly set in the overcrowded, understaffed hospital, and in the isolation room in which there is a lack of space between the beds: it feels enclosed, crammed in - lockdown reading? Detailed descriptive writing absorbs the reader; at times the gruesome details of obstetric complications may be too intense for some, but the need to find out if the characters will survive is powerful.
It has become a fashion for authors to forgo the use of speech marks and line spacing for dialogue. I found at times this pulled me out of the flow and I had to re-read to make sense of what was being said. Other than that, I found the narrative compelling and original.