Hood – Emma Donoghue


About the book

Hood is Irish writer Emma Donoghue’s second novel.  Alternating reveries and reality, it is an account of how a woman copes with the sudden death of her partner. It was published in 1995, and won the Stonewall Book Award (formerly the ALA’s Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Book Award for Literature).  This 2011 edition contains some additional material, including a transcript of an interview with the author.

Some thoughts

I had a bit of a hard time getting through this book.  Firstly, it took quite a while to fall in step with the linguistic nuances and local references.  But over and above that, the ideas and emotions were just so taxing and heavy.  I thought Donoghue communicated rather deftly in the first person, giving Pen all the controlled rage and biting wit worthy of a rebellious Catholic schoolgirl.  One particular “bloody” narrative was especially tough to read through.  Over all, I thought the book was an authentic account of a person’s grief, and brought new facets to a universal experience.

Favorite passages

“It was good practice, believing improbable things.”

“…all that mattered was to be visible to yourself.”

“…only the basics: longing and hiding, a lust so distilled it felt almost platonic.”

“If this love thing was to be repeated over and over, how could the words stay fresh or even halfway sincere?”


Pen: “Don’t you want to be loved?”

Cara: “Not this much.  Only as much as I deserve.”


5 responses

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