May 02

Frog Music by Emma Donaghue

My house could have exploded while I was reading this book and I wouldn’t have noticed.  It’s that good and is another masterstroke by Emma Donaghue.

I admit I was a little nervous with the author as the last book I read of hers was Room and I still feel ill when I think about it too much – I loved it as much as you can love a book like Room, don’t get me wrong, but still, it was not a easy read as those of you who finished it will know.   So I started off slow with Frog Music but wasn’t blown away – that is, until one of the main characters was and then I was like a dog with a bone.  I couldn’t put the damn thing down.

Like Room, this book leaves you teetering and despairing with every page you turn.  But this read  is dark, sultry and saucy.

The tale is set in Chinatown, San Francisco in 1876 where three former stars of the Parisian circus – Blanche, now an exotic dancer, her lover Arthur and his companion Ernest – live.  These street-smart hustlers  thrive in their new homeland, triumphing and building success on the back of Blanche’s wages from The House of Mirrors.  The air around them is thick with a stifling heatwave and a smallpox epidemic rages.  It is a seedy, dangerous life but merry-is-made on a heady cocktail of whisky, raunch and cunning and the trio ride high……until a stranger, Jenny, crashes into their world.     And boom, it all explodes like a good ole’ circus cannon.

This book is inspired by true events which I think makes it all the meatier and  is why, for me anyway, the main characters seem more richly developed and vibrant. And long story short,   Emma Donaghue is one hell of a writer.

So grab it. Clear your diary. Turn your phone to silent. Open book. Plunge forth.  Frog Music will not disappoint.   Promise.

But that is just my 2 cents worth…..