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.

On the Sands: At Sandymount Strand

Anne Enright, 26 May 2022

I pass Sandymount Strand on the train into town. I might think of Joyce and Nora, but more often about Stephen’s encounter with the tide. I might also briefly consider eternity – it is hard not to, given the stretch of the view – or the drowned man at the end of ‘Proteus’, with the tiny fish darting in and out of his buttoned trouser fly. 

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...

In​ the fourth novel in Marilynne Robinson’s Gilead sequence, the eponymous Jack spends a long night alone with his thoughts. ‘After a while,’ he observes, ‘light will reveal itself in a very dark room, not quite as a mist, as something more particulate, as if the slightest breath had lifted the finest dust into the stillest air.’ This recalls Milton’s...

Diary: The Monsters of #MeToo

Anne Enright, 24 October 2019

Last year​, I spoke to a young female doctor who has on occasion been sexually assaulted or insulted by men under her care. What are they thinking? One answer is that they think she is a nurse and that they are, by long-standing comic tradition, entitled to molest nurses. Another is that they can’t bear to be so vulnerable: it is more important to them to make a woman uneasy than it...

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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