The Pull of the Stars

The Pull of the Stars

The Pull of the Stars

Published: 29 April, 2021
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The Sunday Times bestseller and Richard & Judy Book Club Pick, from the acclaimed author of Room. The Pull of the Stars is set during three days in a maternity ward at the height of the Great Flu.

'Moving, gripping and dazzlingly written' - Stylist

Dublin, 1918. In a country doubly ravaged by war and disease, Nurse Julia Power works at an understaffed hospital in the city centre, where expectant mothers who have come down with an unfamiliar flu are quarantined together. Into Julia's regimented world step two outsiders: Doctor Kathleen Lynn, on the run from the police, and a young volunteer helper, Bridie Sweeney.

In the darkness and intensity of this tiny ward, over the course of 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 tells an unforgettable and deeply moving story of love and loss.

'A visceral, harrowing, and revelatory vision of life, death, and love in a time of pandemic. This novel is stunning' - Emily St. John Mandel, author of Station Eleven

'Reads like an episode of Call The Midwife set during a pandemic' - Mail on Sunday

Guardian, Cosmopolitan and Telegraph's 'Books of the Year'


Short-listed for An Post Irish Book Awards: Eason Novel of the Year 2020 (UK),Long-listed for Giller Prize 2020 (UK)

A visceral, harrowing, and revelatory vision of life, death, and love in a time of pandemic. This novel is stunning -- Emily St. John Mandel, author of Station Eleven
Extraordinarily prescient * Daily Telegraph *
The Pull of the Stars has a fever dream-like quality . . . about as moving and absorbing as it gets * Evening Standard *
An immersive, unforgettable fever-dream of a novel * Times *
A timely, exquisite and unputdownable reminder of love and compassion -- Rachel Joyce, author of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry
A story that is as timeless as it is urgent * New York Times *
Fascinating and resonant * Sunday Times *
Emma Donoghue is one of our greatest living prose stylists . . . a must-read novel * The Australian *
Emma Donoghue's best novel since Room * Metro *
Eerily topical, Donoghue's new novel reads like an episode of Call The Midwife set during a pandemic * Mail on Sunday *
Moving, gripping and dazzlingly written * Stylist *
It is rare for such a fast-paced story to be told so beautifully, and the writing is comical & exquisite * Irish Independent *
Moving and memorable * Daily Mail *
As strong and compelling as Jack in Room and Lib in The Wonder . . . a haunting and finely balanced literary novel -- Sarah Moss * Guardian *
One of the Emerald Isle's most glittering literary lights, Donoghue here delivers a historical fiction turned timely reminder of human resilience * Oprah Magazine, 'Best Books of Summer 2020' *
Enticingly written . . . a felicitous comment on our new times * The Irish Times *
Remarkably prescient * Irish Independent *
Rarely can a novel have been as prescient or as timely as The Pull of the Stars . . . the book flies by like a hospital shift, as drama follows crisis and victory chases tragedy in a never-ending cycle of suffering, joy and bodily fluids * Business Post *
Certainly, the currency of The Pull of the Stars gives it a gripping edge, but at its heart this is a story about friendship, love and compassion in extraordinary times . . . It's an engrossing read. Donoghue's writing is visceral and her female characters strike a powerful chord of humanity that stays with you * Australian Women's Weekly *
Donoghue offers vivid characters and a gripping portrait of a world beset by a pandemic and political uncertainty. A fascinating read in these difficult times. * Booklist *
Donoghue's searing tale . . . Her blunt prose and detailed, painstakingly researched medical descriptions do full justice to the reality of the pandemic and the poverty that helps fuel it. Donoghue's evocation of the 1918 flu, and the valor it demands of health-care workers, will stay with readers * Publishers Weekly *
[Julia and Bridie's] relationship forms the emotional core of a story rich in swift, assured sketches of achingly human characters coping as best they can in extreme circumstances . . . Darkly compelling, illuminated by the light of compassion and tenderness: Donoghue's best novel since Room * Kirkus (starred review) *
Eerily reminiscent of our current global health crisis, The Pull of the Stars brings readers intimately close to a world where health care workers risk it all to keep their patients alive * Time *
Emma Donoghue's latest is getting an early release, and it's clear to understand why: In 1918 at the height of the Great Flu in Ireland, sick, pregnant women are quarantined together in a hospital while a group of overworked nurses tries to navigate their patients through the darkness * Marie Claire *
Timely, punchy and gripping * Evening Standard *
A powerful, persistent, highly detailed and incredibly moving book that speaks through time. Donoghue is a marvel of a writer * Press Association *
Emma Donoghue has a gift for taking details from the past and creating believable and absorbing worlds around them * The Tablet *
Gripping . . . fans of Call The Midwife will relish the true-to-life accounts of labour * S Magazine *
Although compassion, female solidarity and dedicated service are at the novel's core, suffering and terrible conditions are front and centre . . . Donoghue [excels] in strong characterisation and a vivid sense of time and place * The Herald *

Born in Dublin in 1969, Emma Donoghue is an Irish emigrant twice over: she spent eight years in Cambridge, England, before moving to Canada's London, Ontario. She is best known for her novels, which range from the historical (The Wonder, Slammerkin, Life Mask, The Sealed Letter) to the contemporary (Akin, Stir-Fry, Hood, Landing). Her international bestseller Room was a New York Times Best Book of 2010 and was a finalist for the Booker, Commonwealth and Orange Prizes; her screen adaptation, directed by Lenny Abrahamson, was nominated for four Academy Awards.

Type Book
ISBN 9781529046199
Number Of Pages 304
Item Weight 218 g
Product Dimensions 129 x 196 x 25 mm
Publisher Pan Macmillan
Format Paperback