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Stir-Fry (2006)

Stir-Fry (2006)

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3.58 of 5 Votes: 2
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1555837239 (ISBN13: 9781555837235)
alyson books

About book Stir-Fry (2006)

“In what day in what month of this queue of years would she find that she had become a rootless stranger, a speck in the urban sprawl?” – Stir-fry page 13If there was one book that I read and I thought ‘this book is me’, this book is it. It is a book that stayed with me and even if I someday forget what the story was about, I will never forget how much I enjoyed reading it and relating to the story.Stir-fry was Donoghue’s debut novel and is set in Dublin, Ireland. It is about Maria, a university student, who goes to live with Ruth and Jael who at first she does not realize they are a couple. Maria is very innocent and always tries to help but you see her develop and mature, in a way, this novel is also a coming-of-age novel.It is interesting to see how Maria interacts differently with Ruth who is really sweet and just needs someone to talk to and Jael who has a more rebellious streak and usually tries to rope Maria into fun activities and how she interacts with them as a couple. To an extent, they become so familiar with one another that they become a trio.Maria stays with the couple and she grows up in a short period of time. We see her force herself to have relationships with people but in the end, in a plot twist that you realize made sense at the end, she ends up with someone really lightly and in a relationship I imagine full of respect.I like how the book is divided. Ruth likes cooking and cooking brings all three together so the chapters are divided in the steps required to make a stir-fry and it makes sense! Especially because a stir-fry is the first meal that Ruth cooks for them when Maria goes to see the flat. The story is set in the past so not contemporary and the physical space is both cozy in the flat but also big in the city and you see her attitude change more even how she feels about returning to her small home, so in a way there is psychological distance to who she used to be.I definitely would have liked a sentence or two about what happened to characters after Maria stopped interacting with them. The book also has a bit of an open ending, but I definitely recommend this book to people that like psychological elements in books, to people that love Ireland and coming of age stories. Emma Donoghue is probably one of my favourite authors for the reason that she writes so brilliantly but also relatable.cross-posted at the lesbrary: reviewed on youtube:

This little novel is a quick read. It is honest and I am so proud and thankful for the author really representing people in the main character who weren't necessarily "born this way" or really even all that into/knowledgable about lesbian life/culture/desire, to come to finding love nevertheless, and maybe even her identity through relationship, friendship. Sure, she is only 17, but still. It was a really sweet novel, but it seemed kind of unfinished. I mean, it would make a really good movie because it kind of reads like a script: fast, plot-thick/dialogue-thick scenes, without much (or any) introduction or transition. I think the book could have been padded with more description and narrative and transition, and it might have been a more literary novel I could assign in class. Anyhow, I'm convinced I like this author, and I'm def. willing to give her longer other book Hood a try. I just have to say, though, that, even if other books are more classically narrative, this story sticks in your mind in a very good way for a very long time.

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Ik was zo onder de indruk van 'Kamer' dat ik meer van deze schrijfster wilde lezen, maar dit boek kon me niet bekoren. Aangezien het het eerste boek van de schrijfster was, was ze waaschijnlijk nog op zoek naar haar stijl. Het verhaal zelf heeft niet zo veel om handen, ik kon ook geen sympathie voor een van de drie hoofdpersonages opbrengen. Ook de stijl kon me niet zo bekoren (maar ik heb het vermoeden dat de Nederlandse vertaling daar ook voor iets tussenzit: daar staan woorden en uitdrukkingen in die in het dagelijkse leven nooit gebruikt worden). Ik was blij dat het boek uit was, en twijfel tussen twee en drie sterren. Het zijn er drie geworden, uit sympathie omdat de schrijfster een niet evident thema (ontdekken van de lesbische liefde) in een niet te melodramatisch boek heeft weten te gieten.
—Wendy van Deurzen

i am such a sucker for a good lesbian story, and i think this is one of the best. i remember finishing it over some depressing stint at home and walking around for the rest of the day with a doofy grin on my face. it did however, make me really nervous 3/4ths of the way through because i realized that the way she had set things up, the ending was going to be really important to the story. it wasn't just going to end the story, it was going to completely make or break the story. and fortunately, i think she has an eye for endings.

After telling a colleague that I'd finished reading Room she asked me if I wanted to know the best thing Emma Donoghue had ever written. Of course I said yes and she pointed me to Stir-Fry. Now, I knew that Donoghue writes across genres but I didn't realize how distinct this early novel of hers would be. It is a coming-of-age story about college-aged (late though they may be) lesbians in Dublin and there was nothing gimicky about it. No genre hook, no twist to the plot line, nothing effortful at all. Which is not to say that it wasn't special. In fact her honest writing about the relationships between young women, how their feminism, and friendship fits with their families and the men they know, was really lovely. I felt like I could really know these young women and their motivations and struggles felt really authentic to me. I am not going to go so far as to say it's the best thing Donoghue has ever written because she has written quite a few wonderful books. But I did enjoy it more than Room and will look for more of her fiction about women's relationships.
—Andrea Mullarkey

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