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REVIEW | Emma Donoghue’s Haven: Gripping tale of monks on a mission

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Haven by Emma Donoghue. (Picador)
Haven by Emma Donoghue. (Picador)

BOOK: Haven by Emma Donoghue (Picador)

Three seventh-century Irish monks set sail one morning in a makeshift vessel to establish God’s presence on a remote island. Scholar and priest Artt, a fanatic entirely lacking in empathy, sympathy or sentiment, is bent on following the dictates of the dream in which his God instructed him to take young Trian and old Cormac from their relatively comfortable monastic life on the mainland to carve out a new one far from the malign influences of other humans.

To the horror of his two companions, Artt selects the first uninhabited island they find – a steep, rocky, entirely inhospitable outcrop that is home only to tens of thousands of birds, among them the flightless (and now extinct) great auk, which, as it transpires, will be the main ingredient in most of their meals.

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