Anne Enright

Anne Enright won the Booker Prize for The Gathering. Her latest novel, Actress, came out in 2020. She has written in the LRB about the long afterlife of the HeLa cells taken from a woman about to die of cervical cancer, her grandmother’s friendship with James Joyce’s sister, and in ‘Antigone in Galway’, about the fate of the troublesome women sent to Ireland’s Magdalene Laundries.

Diary: Spring Blossom

Anne Enright, 10 August 2023

In​ the first Covid lockdown of spring 2020, people in Ireland were confined to a two kilometre radius from home. Exemptions were made for carers and, if I went to see my elderly mother in the middle of the afternoon, the roads were empty of traffic and the suburban paths near her house filled with people walking to the edge of their allocated space and then back home. A handy app showed a...

Eyes that Bite

Anne Enright, 5 January 2023

The Bluest Eye, Toni Morrison’s first novel, published in 1970, opens with a brief, antic mash-up of a child’s first reading primer. ‘Here is the house. It is green and white. It has a red door. It is very pretty. Here is the family.’ These lines are not familiar to me and then they are, sort of – it’s like seeing a person across a room and wondering if it’s someone you know.

On the Sands: At Sandymount Strand

Anne Enright, 26 May 2022

A postmodernist would not hesitate to stroll across his own page with his future wife on his arm. Did modernism turn ‘post’ when Borges put himself in ‘The Aleph’? And I don’t know if my sense of sudden insight (yes! of course it did!) is just what happens when a person reads Ulysses: they experience large, elusive thoughts; they feel very stupid or foolishly, vertiginously clever.

Diary: Priests in the Family

Anne Enright, 18 November 2021

When​ my grandfather died of a heart attack in 1927, he was the father of three young children and did not know that a fourth child, my mother, was on the way. This strangeness – the growth of a baby after the death of its parent – was both tragic and miraculous. It made my mother feel odd about her existence, I think, which is not the same as feeling odd about herself. She was...

Short Cuts: Beckett in a Field

Anne Enright, 23 September 2021

You have not​ experienced Irish theatre until you have seen a show that involves a ferry, rain, stone-walled fields and the keen, mild interest of the Aran Islanders, who have great good manners and no shortage of self-esteem. It can’t be easy being the object of a century of tourist curiosity, but these people have a steady gaze. The world comes to them and then it leaves. Somehow it...

I am his leavings: On Anne Enright

Clare Bucknell, 7 March 2024

One thing Enright’s The Wren, The Wren is sure of is that there is no such thing as completion, or a fresh start. Many of its images are variations on the theme of traces, leftovers, the aspects of self...

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Bury that bastard

Nicole Flattery, 5 March 2020

If Anne Enright’s stories took a physical form, I imagine they would be a well-dressed woman screaming into a silk pillowcase. Which is to say, I love them. 

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Small Hearts: Anne Enright

Terry Eagleton, 4 June 2015

Hegel​ believed that happiness was largely confined to the private life, a view that would scarcely survive a reading of the modern novel. A lot of fiction since the early 20th century takes it...

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What Family Does to You: Anne Enright

Eleanor Birne, 18 October 2007

The Gathering – Anne Enright’s fourth novel, and her best – is aware of its heritage, of the books that have gone before it. It makes use of familiar signals and motifs. It is...

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All Reputation: Eliza and Clara

Hermione Lee, 17 October 2002

Both these outstanding women novelists have decided, with deliberate and rewarding feminist intent, to resuscitate and make central the lives of women whose stories have been overshadowed by the...

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In Anne Enright’s collection The Portable Virgin (published in 1991) the first story is about Cathy, who works in the handbag department of a large Dublin store. Cathy classifies the...

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