The Pull of the Stars
What strange time’s we live in? How many times have you said that this year? What makes it even stranger is that over the previous 24 months Emma Donoghue was writing a book about the great flu of 1918.
Based in a Dublin hospital with scenes of today. The squalor of a century ago is captured perfectly here. Alongside the frontline heroes, sadness abounds. Snippets of a war no soldier wanted and most misunderstood and a country rising to demand its own voice in poverty and hunger.
This was an era of babies being taken from their mothers and placed into care homes, of mothers being taken from their babies and returning to slave camps doubling up as care homes. A sad time where sexuality couldn’t be discussed and women were there to care and have babies. It would seem they weren’t viewed as capable of much else.
Thankfully this book captures strong independent voices, vulnerable and open to suffering. It also celebrates heroes in a deft way. The pain of childbirth is well known, the pain 100 years ago in a hospital gripped by deadly flu is vividly explained here as I read with one eye at time and marvel at the bravery of it all.