A powerful, moving book of secrets, longing and loss, from the Man Booker Prize-winning author of The Gathering.
Anne Enright was born in Dublin, where she now lives and works. She has written two collections of stories, published together as Yesterday's Weather, one book of non-fiction, Making Babies, and six novels, including The Gathering, which won the 2007 Man Booker Prize, The Forgotten Waltz, which was awarded the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction, and The Green Road, which was the Bord Gais Energy Novel of the Year and won the Kerry Group Irish Fiction Award. In 2015 she was appointed as the first Laureate for Irish Fiction, and in 2018 she received the Irish PEN Award for Outstanding Contribution to Irish Literature.
She's a sharp-tongued home wrecker who doesn't try to ingratiate herself. But in this corrosively beautiful novel from Man Booker Prize winner Enright (The Gathering), you want to drag back Gina Moynihan as she recounts plunging headlong into the affair that will change her life. Gina met Sean Vallely at sister Fiona's house and first made love to him, without much pre-amble, while drunk at a business conference. Lectured by her sister, who proclaims that their just-deceased mother would have been mortified, Gina silently disagrees. Surely Mum would have appreciated this affair, which has liberated Gina from.what? The dread of domesticity with teddybearish but somewhat dense husband Conor? Boredom with a lock-step job in Ireland's grim economy? Writing with cool, clear-eyed logic, Enright is brave and persuasive enough to paint Sean as less than ideal; he's a rigid bully and not overwhelmingly attractive. Through Gina's determined pursuit of their relationship, we see the stupefying nature of desire, which Enright deftly contrasts with the sometimes equally stupefying nature of parenting; Gina's big competition is not Sean's wife but his sweet, not-quite-right daughter. VERDICT A breathtaking work that will surprise you; highly recommended. [See Prepub Alert, 4/11/11.]--Barbara Hoffert, Library Journal (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
In this gorgeous critique of Ireland as the Celtic Tiger draws its dying breaths, Enright chronicles an affair between 32-year-old Gina Moynihan, and Sean Vallely, a rich, dutiful husband and a devoted if somewhat inept father to the otherworldly, epileptic Evie, not yet 13. Set against a backdrop of easy money, second homes, and gratuitous spending, the dissolution of Gina's and Sean's marriages is both an antidote to and a symptom of the economic prosperity that gripped the country until its sudden and devastating fall from grace in 2008: "In Ireland, if you leave the house and there is a divorce, then you lose the house.... You have to sleep there to keep your claim.... You think it is about sex, and then you remember the money." There are, as with any affair, casualties, but what weighs most heavily on Gina is not what will become of her husband, Conor, but rather Evie, who sees Gina kissing her father, and innocently asks if she might be kissed too, oblivious to the fact that this moment heralds the end of her family. She eventually becomes all too aware that her father is gone and that she's stuck with her sad, neurotic mother. And so the question that remains at the end of this masterful and deeply satisfying novel is not just what will happen to Ireland, but what will happen to Evie? (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
An achingly brilliant piece of writing on passion and delusion.
Comparisons to Madame Bovary are not overblown, not because
it is a wry, clever, philosophical take on adultery - although it
is - but because it makes you re-evaluate everything a novel can
be... This book is enough to restore your faith in the power of
fiction -- Viv Groskop * Independent *
An important novel... It is a rare thing: the literary page turner... An acutely tender depiction of the complex familial bonds joining us, a delicate portrait of love, loss and hope, from a formidably talented writer -- Claire Kilroy * Financial Times *
A love story for our times... In a single sentence [Enright] conjures up that violent pendulum swing of emotion that can blow whole worlds apart... This is the great pleasure of reading Enright: her sheer virtuoso control of language, those compact sentences, with their occasional flares of lyrical beauty and emotional force * Irish Times *
A luminous novel... Haunting, dreamy, sexy and with flashes of salty wit this is one of those novels that you are sorry to see end. It is very much an Irish novel and much of its time but the anatomy of desire and passion are timeless -- Jennifer Selway * Daily Express *
The real pleasure of the book is the dancing, delicious prose * Evening Standard *