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The Pull of the Stars: A Novel de Emma…

The Pull of the Stars: A Novel (edição: 2020)

de Emma Donoghue (Autor)

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6695425,514 (4.06)83
Título:The Pull of the Stars: A Novel
Autores:Emma Donoghue (Autor)
Informação:Little, Brown and Company (2020), Edition: Unabridged, 304 pages
Coleções:Sua biblioteca

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The Pull of the Stars de Emma Donoghue


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The Pull of the Stars
By Emma Donoghue

An Atmospheric and heartbreaking story full of compassion, tragedy and hopefulness.


Nurse Julie Power is the acting matron at an understaffed hospital in the center of Dublin, Ireland. It’s 1918 and the country is currently racked by both war and influenza. Nurse Julie works in the Maternity/Fever Ward where expectant mothers who also come down with this terrible new Flu are quarantined together. She is assisted in the ward by Birdie Sweeney, a young inexperienced volunteer and by Doctor Kathleen Lynn, a Sinn Fein rebel on the run from the police. Over a period of three days these three women lose patients to the pandemic and at the same time bring new life into a treacherous world.

“You can't be a little bit dead. If you're not in the ground yet, you're one hundred per cent alive.”

“I'd never believed the future was inscribed for each of us the day we were born. If anything was written in the stars, it was we who joined those dots, and our lives were the writing.”

THE PULL OF THE STARS is an atmospheric, heartbreaking story full of tragedy, compassion and hope. The read is intense and captivating, particularly as it relates to our current unbelievable pandemic.

The main characters, Julie, Birdie and Doctor Lynn are the pillars of the story. Much like our nurses today, they are full of strength and fortitude putting their very lives at risk to serve others during a deadly pandemic. With doctors in short supply because of the war, Nurse Julie, trained as a midwife, is doing the best she can.

Written just before our pandemic, Author Emma Donoghue’s writing is profound and beautifully descriptive of a time and place that is gut-wrenching and heartbreaking, much like what we are experiencing now. She effortlessly blends the backgrounds and personal lives of these three characters with their current experiences in the maternity/fever ward. These women come alive on the page, and are full of empathy, courage and strength.

The audiobook for THE PULL OF THE STARS is narrated by Emma Lowe whose voice perfectly aligns with the story. Her pacing, tone and inflection are pitch perfect for this gripping and emotionally profound story

Author Emma Donoghue is an award-winning Irish playwright living in Canada. Her previous novels include Akin (2019), The Wonder (2016) and Room (2010) among many others.

“Here we are in the golden age of medicine—making such great strides against rabies, typhoid fever, diphtheria—and a common or garden influenza is beating us hollow. No, you’re the ones who matter right now. Attentive nurses, I mean—tender loving care, that seems to be all that’s saving lives.”

“We could always blame the stars...That’s what influenza means, she said. Influenza delle stelle—the influence of the stars. Medieval Italians thought the illness proved that the heavens were governing their fates, that people were quite literally star-crossed.”

“Nursing was like being under a spell: you went in very young and came out older than any span of years could make you.”

Publisher Little Brown and Cpompany
Published July 20, 2020
Narrated Emma Lowe
Review www.bluestockingreviews.com ( )
  LisaSHarvey | May 2, 2021 |
I would have found this book an excellent read at any time but given our current circumstances this novel set in a hospital in Dublin in 1918 during the Spanish influenza was one I could not put down. The really interesting feature about this book is that Emma Donoghue had no inkling it would be released during the 21st century's equivalent to the Spanish influenza. She finished it in late 2019 and delivered the last draft to her publisher in March 2020 expecting it would come out in about 8 months; instead when COVID-19 ramped up to a global pandemic Harper Collins worked with Donoghue to release it in four months. I understand that some people living through the pandemic don't want to read anything associated with another one but I'm the kind of person that believes we need to learn from previous examples and I welcome this book.

Julia Power works as a midwife and nursing sister in a hospital in one of the poorest areas in Dublin. World War I is still raging in October 1918 but the Spanish influenza is waging war right in Dublin. Nurse Power has been assigned to assist in a small ward dedicated to expectant mothers with influenza. On the morning of October 31 she is told that her supervisor is needed on another ward and she will be on her own. Three patients for one nurse doesn't sound too bad but when there is no-one else helping with chores Nurse Power is run off her feet. Thankfully a volunteer is assigned but Bridie Sweeney is completely untrained. She is very willing though and Julia finds her to be very quick at learning what has to be done. Also available at critical times is Doctor Kathleen Lynn who is a general practitioner but has specialized training in obstetrics and maternity. Unfortunately Dr. Lynn (a real person living in Dublin in 1918) is wanted by the police for anti-British activities. She can only hide from them for so long. Nurse Power isn't even sure she approves of Dr. Lynn's politics but she does appreciate her expertise. The novel encompasses only 3 days but so much happens that they seemed to last forever.

Having never given birth myself there was a lot of new information in this book about complications. I am even more in awe of those women I know who have delivered children and also those people who assist women in childbirth. Nurse Power and Bridie Sweeney may not be based on real people of those names but they are surely based on actual people who help deliver babies and care for the mothers. Donoghue mentions several in her author's note at the end of the book.

I really appreciated how deftly Donoghue wove in details about rampant poverty and the Irish quest for independence from Britain with the central story. This is an historical novel that puts the reader right in that time and place. Highly recommended. ( )
  gypsysmom | Apr 19, 2021 |
I'm probably at about 20% in and I'm not enjoying myself. Realistic fiction. Too many mundane details. Maybe I have spent too much time in hospitals myself to find any of this interesting. I'm trying to trust the author so I will hang in there.

@66% Am I seriously reading a childbirth thriller? Will the mother live? Will the baby live? Will putting in a catheter (with details) give the baby enough room, "maybe I should do an enema..."

By the end, it's easy to develop an interest in the well being of the characters but I can't say I enjoyed the story or would recommend.

The author's note says the Influenza Pandemic of 1918 killed 3-6% of the population. This story takes place in a small maternity ward over three days. We have a nurse main character. A nurse's helper that she based on what she learned of the children / young adults that were raised at residential institutions run by the Catholic Church between 1936 and 1999. They were treated horribly. https://industrialmemories.ucd.ie/ She based her female doctor on a real person: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kathleen_Lynn

She says it is a fiction story pinned together with facts.

ETA: If I'm being honest that relationship near the end of the book felt out of place. Took me and the characters by surprise I'd say. And the dynamics between the two, one in a position of power over the other, seemed cringy as I read it in 2021. ( )
  Seayla2020 | Apr 19, 2021 |
(18) Painfully predictable and melodramatic are my overall impressions -- despite the timely subject matter (1918 Influenza pandemic) and the surprising accurate obstetrical details. This novel is set over a few days from the perspective of a midwife in the Maternity Fever Ward. Nurse Julia Power has recovered from the influenza and lives at home with her brother who has decidedly not recovered from trench warfare. Due to shortages of medical personnel from the pandemic, she finds herself in charge of a small ward of infected pregnant women who battle pneumonia and labor with only the crudest of weapons - whiskey, poultices, hot lemonade, chloroform. Nurse Powers is given a young helper from the nearby women's home run by the Catholic church, where fallen women and orphans lead shadowy lives. She draws close to this young woman, Bridie, in the intense days that follow. At times, the only one who can help Nurse Powers is a unusual and talented female physician, a captain in the fledgling Irish Republican Army who is a fugitive of the law. If this all sounds like Lifetime movie of the week to you, then you are right on point.

I did not love 'Room,' the only other book by this author that I have read, and I have a similar feeling here - just OK. Despite being over dramatized, I did enjoy the midwifery - I think she actually got some things right. Perhaps this is timely and empowering for a woman's book club pick - but it is not particularly artfully written. Not so much the construction or the language or the pacing - all that was just fine. But the sentimentality and the heavy handed metaphor and foreshadowing was too simplistic for a discerning reader. I think she is smarter than her writing. But I get it - you want to sell books.

Mediocre, though timely. I don't think I will read Donoghue again. ( )
1 vote jhowell | Apr 8, 2021 |
If you need to be reminded that it could be so much worse: The pull of the stars is about a nurse/midwife caring for very pregnant patients with influenza for three days in Dublin, 1918. This is very well written. For all the horrible things that are going on, the book never stops hope. ( )
1 vote MarthaJeanne | Mar 31, 2021 |
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Nome do autorFunçãoTipo de autorObra?Status
Emma Donoghueautor principaltodas as ediçõescalculado
Emma LoweNarradorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Wood, SarahDesigner da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
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