Emma Donoghue - Touchy Subjects - Little, Brown Book Group

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    • ISBN:9781844087396
    • Publication date:07 Apr 2011

Touchy Subjects

By Emma Donoghue

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From the acclaimed novelist an electrifying collection of stories exploring taboos and secrets.

How do you make conversation with a sperm donor? How do you say someone's novel is drivel? Would you give a screaming baby brandy? In what words would you tell your girlfriend to pluck a hair on her chin?

Touchy Subjects is about things that make people wince: taboos, controversies, secrets and lies. Some of the events that characters crash into are grand, tragic ones: miscarriage, overdose, missing persons, a mother who deserts her children. Other topics, like religion and money, are not inherently taboo, but they can cause acute discomfort because people disagree so vehemently. Many of these stories are about the spectrum of constrained, convoluted feeling that runs from awkwardness through embarrassment to shame.

Biographical Notes

Emma Donoghue is an Irish novelist, playwright and historian. Her second novel HOOD won the American Library Association Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Award in 1997. She is currently adapting her novel STIR-FRY for Horizonline Films (Ireland).

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  • ISBN: 9780748133451
  • Publication date: 11 Aug 2011
  • Page count:
  • Imprint: Virago
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Durraghglass is a beautiful mansion in Southern Ireland, now crumbling in neglect. The time is the present - a present that churns with the bizarre passions of its owners' past. The Swifts - three sisters of marked eccentricity, defiantly christened April, May and Baby June, and their only brother, one-eyed Jasper - have little in common, save vivid memories of darling Mummy, and a long lost youth peculiarly prone to acts of treachery. Into their world comes Cousin Leda from Vienna, a visitor from the past, blind but beguiling - a thrilling guest. But within days, the lifestyle of the Swifts has been dramatically overturned - and desires, dormant for so long, flame fierce and bright as ever.

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A love story. A gamble. A battle. Let the games begin.It's an era of looming war, and the erosion of freedom in the name of national security. A time of high art and big business, trashy spectacles and financial disasters. Celebrities are hounded by journalists, who serve up private passions alongside public crises. Marriages stretch or break, and so do friendships; political liaisons prove as dangerous as erotic ones. In Parliament, on stage, in the bedroom, at the race track, round the dinner table, old loyalties are wrenched by the winds of change. The World - as elite calls itself - is fighting to survive these chaotic times.

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The Woman Who Gave Birth to Rabbits is a book of fictions, but they are also true. Over the last ten years, I have often stumbled over a scrap of history so fascinating that I had to stop whatever I was doing and write a story about it. My sources are the flotsam and jetsam of the last seven hundred years of British and Irish life: surgical case-notes; trial records; a plague ballad; theological pamphlets; a painting of two girls in a garden; an articulated skeleton. Some of the ghosts in this collection have famous names; others were written off as cripples, children, half-breeds, freaks and nobodies. The Woman Who Gave Birth to Rabbits is named for Mary Toft, who in 1726 managed to convince half England that she had done just that.So this book is what I have to show for ten years of sporadic grave-robbing, ferreting out forgotten puzzles and peculiar incidents, asking 'What really happened?', but also, 'What if?

Aimee Molloy

Aimee Molloy is the author of the New York Times non-fiction bestseller However Long the Night, as well as the co-author of several other books, including Rosewater, which was made into a movie by Jon Stewart. Film rights for The Perfect Mother have been optioned by Sony/Tri Star with Kerry Washington set to star in and produce the adaptation. Aimee lives in Brooklyn with her family.

Alan Lightman

Alan Lightman - who worked for many years as a theoretical physicist - is the author of six novels, including the international bestseller Einstein's Dreams, as well as The Diagnosis, a finalist for the National Book Award. He is also the author of a memoir, three collections of essays, and several books on science. His work has appeared in The Atlantic, Granta, Harper's Magazine, The New Yorker, The New York Review of Books, and Nature, among other publications. He has taught at Harvard and at MIT, where he was the first person to receive a dual faculty appointment in science and the humanities. He lives in the Boston area.

Antonia White

Antonia White (1899-1980) was educated at the Convent of the Sacred Heart at Roehampton before going to St Paul's School for Girls and training for the stage at RADA. From 1924 until the Second World War she worked as a journalist. Among numerous volumes of short stories, fiction and autobiography, Antonia White published a celebrated quartet of novels linked by their heroine: Frost in May (1922), The Lost Traveller (1950), The Sugar House (1952) and Beyond the Glass (1954).

Barbara Delinsky

Barbara Delinsky lives in Needham, Massachusetts. With thirty million copies of her novels in print, in twenty-five different languages, Delinsky is one of the world's most beloved and revered storytellers.A lifelong New Englander, she uses the area as settings in most of her stories. In her spare time, Barbara enjoys kayaking, aerobics, and needlepoint; in addition to spending time with family and friends. She is also a breast cancer survivor, and strives to be a positive role model for other women facing the disease.

Ben Fergusson

Ben Fergusson's debut novel The Spring of Kasper Meier, was selected for Waterstones Book Club, WH Smith Fresh Talent and the BBC Radio 2 Book Club. It was longlisted for the Authors' Club Best First Novel Award 2015 and shortlisted for The Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award 2015. It won the 2015 Betty Trask Prize for an outstanding debut novel by a writer under 35 and the HWA Debut Crown 2015 for the best historical fiction debut of the year.

Caitlin Macy

Caitlin Macy is the author of The Fundamentals of Play and Spoiled. A graduate of Yale, she received her MFA from Columbia. Her work has been published in The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, O, The Oprah Magazine and Slate, among other publications. She lives in New York City with her husband and two children.

Chris Brookmyre

Chris Brookmyre was a journalist before becoming a full-time novelist with the publication of his award-winning debut Quite Ugly One Morning, which established him as one of Britain's leading crime authors. His Jack Parlabane novels have sold more than one million copies in the UK alone, and Black Widow won both the McIlvanney Prize and the Theakston's Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year award.

Christine Mangan

Christine Mangan has her PhD in English from University College Dublin, where her thesis focused on 18th-century Gothic literature, and an MFA in fiction writing from the University of Southern Maine. Tangerine is her first novel.

Colson Whitehead

Colson Whitehead is the Sunday Times bestselling author of The Underground Railroad, The Noble Hustle, Zone One, Sag Harbor, The Intuitionist, John Henry Days, Apex Hides the Hurt, and one collection of essays, The Colossus of New York. A Pulitzer Prize winner and a recipient of MacArthur and Guggenheim fellowships, he lives in New York City.

Dale Brown

Dale Brown is the author of numerous New York Times bestsellers, starting with Flight of the Old Dog in 1987. A former U.S. Air Force captain, he often flies his own plane over the skies of the United States.

Deborah Rodriguez

Deborah Rodriguez spent five years teaching at and later directing the Kabul Beauty School, the first modern beauty academy and training salon in Afghanistan. She also owned the Cabul Coffee House, and is now a hairdresser and a motivational speaker. Deborah currently lives in Mexico where she owns the Tippy Toes Salon. To learn more about her visit www.debbierodriguez.com

Elizabeth Hoyt

Elizabeth Hoyt lives in central Illinois with her husband, two children and three dogs. Visit her at www.elizabethhoyt.com

Gilly Macmillan

Gilly Macmillan is the New York Times bestselling author of What She Knew and The Perfect Girl. She trained as an art historian and worked at The Burlington Magazine and the Hayward Gallery before starting a family. Since then she's worked as a lecturer in photography, and now writes full-time. She resides in Bristol, England.

Linda Grant

Linda Grant is a novelist and journalist. She won the Orange Prize for Fiction in 2000 and the Lettre Ulysses Prize for Literary Reportage in 2006, and was longlisted for the Man Booker in 2002 for Still Here. The Clothes on Their Backs was shortlisted for the Man Booker in 2008 and went on to win the South Bank Show Award.