Slammerkin: Book summary and reviews of Slammerkin by Emma Donoghue

Slammerkin

By Emma Donoghue

Slammerkin
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  • Published in USA  Jun 2001,
    352 pages.

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Book Summary

Slammerkin: A loose gown; a loose woman.

Born to rough cloth in Hogarth's London, but longing for silk, Mary Saunders's eye for a shiny red ribbon leads her to prostitution at a young age. A dangerous misstep sends her fleeing to Monmouth, and the position of household seamstress, the ordinary life of an ordinary girl with no expectations. But Mary has known freedom, and having never known love, it is freedom that motivates her. Mary asks herself if the prostitute who hires out her body is more or less free than the "honest woman" locked into marriage, or the servant who runs a household not her own? And is either as free as a man?

Ultimately, Mary remains true only to the three rules she learned on the streets: Never give up your liberty. Clothes make the woman. Clothes are the greatest lie ever told.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Donoghue's characterizations are excellent, and her brutal imagery and attention to language capture the spirit of the time with vital precision." - Publishers Weekly.

"An ideal choice for book groups; recommended for all public and academic libraries." - Library Journal.

"What is most amazing is Donoghue's capacity for tackling weighty issues (prostitution, crime, and slavery) while avoiding didacticism." - Booklist.

""Donoghue has produced an absorbing, moving, and intelligent work of fiction . . . an exhilarating dialogue..." - The Times (UK).

"Finding a language that inhabits but is in no way weighted down by its time, Donoghue has made of an 'obscure and brutal story' a compelling novel . . . and a brilliant historical variant on the 'girl about town." - The Financial Times (UK).

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Author Information

Emma Donoghue Author Biography

Emma Donoghue is an award-winning Irish writer who lives in Canada. At 38, she has published seven novels, three books of short stories, two works of literary history, two anthologies and two plays.

Born in Dublin, Ireland, on 24 October 1969, Emma is the youngest of eight children of Frances and Denis Donoghue. She attended Catholic convent schools in Dublin, apart from one year in New York at the age of ten. In 1990 she earned a first-class honours BA in English and French from University College Dublin, and in 1997 a PhD (on the concept of friendship between men and women in eighteenth-century English fiction) from the University of Cambridge. Since the age of 23, Donoghue has earned her living as a full-time writer. After years of commuting between England, Ireland, and Canada, in...

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