Genre: Historical Fiction
Length: 272 pages
Audiobook Length: 9 hours
First Published: 2022
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Little, Brown and Company through Netgalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
In seventh-century Ireland, Artt has a dream to leave the world behind. He brings two monks with him and the three men search for an isolated place to build a monastery. After rowing down the River Shannon, they settle on a barren island where survival will take all of their faith and skill.
For some reason, I kept mistaking Haven for a psychological thriller like her bestseller Room, so medieval historical fiction was not quite what I was expecting. In all, the Robinson Crusoe-style story about three monks was okay. I find the details of how the men survived on almost nothing to be interesting, but I have no idea what the point of the story was. In case you were wondering, it’s not anti-religious, but wasn’t trying to win you over to religion either.
Three men vow to leave the world behind them. They set out in a small boat for an island their leader has seen in a dream, with only faith to guide them. What they find is the extraordinary island now known as Skellig Michael. Haven has Emma Donoghue’s trademark world-building and psychological intensity—but this story is like nothing she has ever written before.
In seventh-century Ireland, a scholar and priest called Artt has a dream telling him to leave the sinful world behind. Taking two monks—young Trian and old Cormac—he rows down the river Shannon in search of an isolated spot on which to found a monastery. Drifting out into the Atlantic, the three men find an impossibly steep, bare island inhabited by tens of thousands of birds, and claim it for God. In such a place, what will survival mean?
About Emma Donoghue
Emma Donoghue is an Irish author and playwright. Her works include Akin, Room, The Wonder, and The Pull of the Stars. She was born in Dublin, Ireland, received her PHD at Cambridge and currently lives in Ontario, Canada. Visit the author’s website →