ARC AUDIO BOOK REVIEW: Haven by Emma Donoghue

Publication Date: August 23, 2022
Format: Audio
Genre:  Medieval Historical Fiction
Narrators: Aiden Kelly

Publisher: Little Brown & Company
8 hours 35 min
Buy: Kindle | Audio


In this beautiful story of adventure and survival from the New York Times bestselling author of Room, three men vow to leave the world behind them as they set out in a small boat for an island their leader has seen in a dream, with only faith to guide them.

In seventh-century Ireland, a scholar and priest called Artt has a dream telling him to leave the sinful world behind. Taking two monks—young Trian and old Cormac—he rows down the river Shannon in search of an isolated spot on which to found a monastery. Drifting out into the Atlantic, the three men find an impossibly steep, bare island inhabited by tens of thousands of birds, and claim it for God. In such a place, what will survival mean?


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I really like this author so I was excited to read this one however, once I dove in I was less than thrilled.  It was not a difficult read and the writing is beautiful as always. I think it may be the subject matter.  I was excited for Artt, Trian and Cormac to set off to find a new monastery but once they did I was reminded of the pitfalls of so many of the pious.  

When asked about building shelter Artt wanted a church instead, when they asked to go to the closer islands to trade for food their request was denied.  The careless way in which Trian was asked to kill birds to supply them with fat for fires and taking more than they needed for so many things was just devastating to me.  There was no care for the land or the creatures that had inhabited it before they got there.

Artt believed that God had sent him to this island and provided all the birds and fish for him. Such arrogance is the same reason African's were enslaved, and Native peoples almost wiped out.  Missionaries who go into jungles to "save" people who have been living quite well on their own wiped out by diseases carried by these people who think that saving their souls is worth killing the entire population. The arrogance of man knows no bounds.

So while I didn't really like the book it was definitely thought provoking and well written.  Ultimately in the end I believe Cormac was the smartest person on the island. God does provide but you have to be smart enough to use the tools he provides. 

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