Category: A Collection of Short Stories
Astray is a collection of historical short stories, the characters, created from real life newspaper stories, diary entries and the like. In Astray, Donoghue has used fact to create fiction, a world of characters lost in transit, waiting for something that may never come.
Cleverly separated in to three parts; Departure, In Transit and Arrivals, Donoghue’s characters are all on a journey. Some are searching for a new life, some are trying to make do with the one they have. Luck has not been on their side, and for some of them, it never will be.
Astray features touching stories such as ‘Onward,’ inspired by letters written between author Charles Dickens and a brother, about a young lady he helped escape a life of poverty and prostitution or ‘Man and Boy,’ the heart-warming story of a Zookeeper and Jumbo, his Elephant, inspired by newspaper reports. ‘The Widow’s Cruse’ tells of a manipulative woman who so cunningly uses the men around her to her advantage, and ‘The Body Swap,’ a fictionalised version of the body snatchers who attempted to steal President Lincoln’s body.
Due to the nature of the book, Astray is a good holiday book for putting down and picking back up again when you need to. There’s a story or two for everyone, and whilst some of the stories may not engage everyone, there is a wide range of subject matter to keep most readers happy. This is the first book of short stories I’ve read, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I will be picking up more short stories over the course of the next year!