FROG MUSIC By Emma Donoghue. Rating: NNNN Bestselling author.
FROG MUSIC By Emma Donoghue. Rating: NNNN
Bestselling author Emma Donoghue’s first full-length follow-up to her contemporary bestseller, Room, returns her to the historical fiction that first brought her attention.
Former circus performer Blanche has immigrated from Paris to 1876 San Francisco with her boyfriend-turned-pimp, where she performs as a stripper, turning tricks on the side. When she meets cross-dressing frog-catcher Jenny, she finds new meaning in friendship, then finally recovers the baby she gave up at birth and tries to bond with her son.
The story opens with Jenny’s murder and moves back and forth through time until the mystery surrounding her death is resolved. Donoghue has complete control of the narrative, vividly evoking an anomalously steaming- hot city coping with a smallpox epidemic.
While expanding her historical precision to include scores of musical tidbits from songs popular at the time, she refuses to moralize about Blanche’s professional choices and delivers a subtly queer, rowdy tale.
A real page-turner.