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Jack is the five-year-old protagonist of Emma Donoghue’s latest novel, Room. The title of the book comes from the fact that its child narrator can’t leave the confines of an 11-foot square room. Imagine that as your lot in life and suddenly, your living situation doesn’t seem so bad. Even if you have a near alcoholic roommate who likes to black out on random Tuesday afternoons, or if you dwell in your parents’ basement along with your litter sister’s escaped gerbil and a family of rats, it’s still better than Jack’s raw deal. So although Room sounds like the most depressing book of recent memory, it’s actually oddly comforting.

EMMA DONOGHUE SPEAKS AT 7 P.M. AT POLITICS & PROSE, 5015 CONNECTICUT AVE. NW. FREE. (202) 364-1919.