They’re the forgotten minor characters of history: A Texas slave who kills his master and runs away with the master’s wife. An elephant trainer heartbroken at the sale of his best friend to P.T. Barnum. A brother who appeals to Charles Dickens to help raise money for his sister to give up prostitution and find a new start in Canada.
The stars of these obscure news brief items — and many more — come to life in a new collection of short stories by Emma Donoghue. Her novel "Room" was an international best-seller. Her new book is called "Astray." At the Miami Book Fair International, she caught up with John Hockenberry to discuss themes of alienation and the thrill of the blank state promised to immigrants.