Lib Wright, a young English nurse, arrives in an impoverished Irish village on a strange mission. Eleven-year-old Anna O’Donnell is said to have eaten nothing for months but appears to be thriving miraculously. With tourists thronging to see the child, and the press sowing doubt, the baffled community looks to an outsider to bring the facts to light. Lib’s job is simple: to watch the girl and uncover the truth.
An educated sceptic, trained by the legendary Florence Nightingale and repelled by what she sees as ignorance and superstition, Lib expects to expose the fast as a hoax right away. But as she gets to know the girl, over the long days they spend together, Lib becomes more and more unsure. Is Anna a fraud, or a ‘living wonder’? Or is something more sinister unfolding right before Lib’s eyes, a tragedy in which she herself is playing a part?
Written with all the propulsive tension that transported readers of Room, The Wonder is a haunting psychological thriller about the lengths we go to for the love of a child.
NOMINATING LIBRARY COMMENTS
A girl who refuses to eat. For religious reasons? Something else? Even her parents are convinced that she can live without food. An emotional, at times, disturbing, but tremendously thought-provoking novel.
Set in post-famine Ireland, a Nightingale nurse takes on a case of a fasting eleven year old girl in the midlands of Ireland. Is the child genuine, or being manipulated for money or faith? Although the nurse is hired to merely observe, she can’t help being drawn in, leading to a heart pounding climax.