Picture of author.

Anne Enright

Author of The Gathering

21+ Works 7,392 Members 382 Reviews 11 Favorited

About the Author

Anne Teresa Enright (born 11 October 1962) is an Irish author. She received an English and philosophy degree from Trinity College, Dublin. Enright is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature; her novel The Gathering won the 2007 Man Booker Prize. She has also won the 1991 Rooney Prize for Irish show more Literature, the 2001 Encore Award and the 2008 Irish Novel of the Year. Enright's writings have appeared in several magazines, including The New Yorker, The Paris Review, Granta, the London Review of Books, The Dublin Review and the Irish Times. In 2015 she made the New Zealand Best Seller List with her title The Green Road. This title also made the Costa Book Award 2015 shortlist in the UK. It also won the Irish Book Award for Novel of the Year. (Bowker Author Biography) show less

Works by Anne Enright

The Gathering (2007) 4,003 copies
The Green Road (2015) 945 copies
The Forgotten Waltz (2011) 818 copies
Actress (2020) 399 copies
Yesterday's Weather: Stories (2008) 230 copies
What Are You Like? (2000) 183 copies
The Pleasure of Eliza Lynch (2002) 149 copies
The Wren, The Wren (2023) 124 copies
The Granta Book of the Irish Short Story (2010) — Editor — 110 copies
Taking Pictures: Stories (2008) 105 copies
The Wig My Father Wore (1995) 97 copies
The Portable Virgin (1991) 64 copies
Babies (2017) 9 copies

Associated Works

Finbar's Hotel (1997) — Contributor — 317 copies
Mortification: Writers' Stories of Their Public Shame (2003) — Contributor — 293 copies
Granta 85: Hidden Histories (2004) — Contributor — 169 copies
The Penguin Book of Irish Fiction (1999) — Contributor — 150 copies
Granta 75: Brief Encounters (2001) — Contributor — 123 copies
Midsummer Nights (1702) — Contributor — 73 copies
The Long Gaze Back: An Anthology of Irish Women Writers (2015) — Contributor — 56 copies
Revenge: Short Stories by Women Writers (1986) — Contributor — 49 copies
As Music and Splendour (1958) — Introduction, some editions — 48 copies
The Anchor Book of New Irish Writing (2000) — Contributor — 38 copies
The Penguin Book of Irish Comic Writing (1996) — Author, some editions — 25 copies
A Vintage Christmas (Vintage Minis) (2018) — Contributor — 8 copies
Trinity Tales: Trinity College Dublin in the Eighties (2013) — Contributor — 7 copies
Hebbes 1 — Contributor — 2 copies
Beyond the Centre: Writers in Their Own Words (2016) — Author — 2 copies


2008 (35) 21st century (51) adultery (26) alcoholism (25) anthology (87) Booker (62) Booker Prize (190) Booker Prize Winner (80) contemporary (28) contemporary fiction (57) death (55) Dublin (60) essays (51) family (188) fiction (982) Granta (58) grief (29) humor (27) Ireland (483) Irish (217) Irish author (31) Irish fiction (131) Irish literature (202) library (25) literary fiction (61) literature (69) non-fiction (57) novel (150) owned (25) read (77) read in 2012 (24) relationships (42) short stories (198) siblings (43) signed (32) suicide (67) to-read (440) unread (55) wishlist (24) writing (27)

Common Knowledge



The Forgotten Waltz by Anne Enright in Orange January/July (May 2012)


This is a study of a single mother (Carmel) and her twenty-something daughter (Nell). They are the daughter and granddaughter of a stereotypically bibulous, womanizing, Celtic poet, Phil McDaragh, who (years before the story opens) deserted his wife, Carmel’s mother, when she was being treated for breast cancer. Yes, he’s your garden-variety, self-centred, heartless cad. We’re apparently meant to understand that the behaviour of a lout echoes down through the generations. It’s not just Phil’s wife, Terry, but also his daughter and granddaughter who are affected by his actions.

Okay, there’s competent enough writing, but fine prose just isn’t enough if the content isn’t interesting or worthy. I’d argue it’s neither. Nell’s sexual relationship with a man (Felim)—what she refers to as her “little adventure in abjection”—is cringeworthy and proved to be more degradation than I cared to witness. I bailed at the halfway point.

I was disappointed by Enright’s latest offering and I heartily recommend avoiding it . . . unless abjection is your thing.
… (more)
fountainoverflows | 6 other reviews | Nov 11, 2023 |
I read this book while travelling so perhaps was not able to give it the attention it needs, but I had difficulty remaining engaged.

The novel focuses on two women, Carmel and her daughter Nell, but Phil McDaragh, Carmel’s father, looms large. Phil deserted his wife Terry when she was diagnosed with breast cancer, leaving her in the care of their two daughters, Imelda aged 17 and Carmel, 12. A philanderer and wanderer, he focused on writing poetry and became “the finest love poet of his generation.” The novel examines the emotional and psychological effect his rejection has on his youngest daughter and his granddaughter.

Carmel becomes a very pragmatic person. Because of her father’s behaviour, she is cautious around men. She does not really want a man in her life; being a single mother is just fine for her. She focuses on her career as a teacher and on her daughter, becoming rather possessive about Nell. Carmel does have a relationship with a man whom she repeatedly describes as nice, but when he has a health crisis, she abandons him.

Nell is much more of a free spirit who wants to escape her mother’s possessiveness. She yearns to travel and write. Perhaps her being fatherless has affected her ability to form a healthy relationship with a man. One relationship is with a man who can only be described as abusive; his behaviour is not unlike Phil’s. Nell yearns to travel and write and turns to her grandfather’s poetry for comfort, even getting a tattoo of a line from one of his poems.

Chapters alternate between the two women. Carmel’s sections are in third person, but Nell’s are in first person, often in a stream-of-consciousness style. Interspersed are some poems written by Phil and some of his translations of old Irish poetry. Phil also has a chapter, a childhood memoir which does explain to some extent how his upbringing influenced his adulthood.

Unfortunately, I did not like any of the characters. I found Carmel dull and Nell tedious. Imelda is a bully. And Phil, of course, is a cad. His explanation for desertion reveals a pathological selfishness: “’She got sick, unfortunately, and the marriage did not survive.’” Men in general do not fare well. There’s Felim, an abuser, and Ronan and David are nice but bland.

Obviously, the novel is about generational trauma. There is no doubt that both Carmel and Nell, and Imelda too, are haunted by Phil’s treachery. Their relationships with each other and with men in general suffer because of his abandonment and abuse, and to some extent, they repeat the cycle. The women realize that they cannot escape the past; watching an old video interview with her grandfather, Nell sees “my aunt Imelda’s wry, sour little aside. Carmel’s hunchy way of sitting forward, the same emphatic finger. He has my quick twist of a smirk at the end of a sentence . . . The McDaraghs are all jumbled up inside him.” She concludes, “The connection between us is more than a strand of DNA, it is a rope thrown from the past, a fat twisted rope, full of blood.”

As I mentioned at the beginning, I was not able to give the book a great deal of attention so perhaps that is why I found it fractured and fragmented, ambiguous and vague. Despite its gorgeous language, it often felt like a series of disjointed vignettes so I was sometimes frustrated and confused.

Note: I received an eARC from the publisher via NetGalley.

Please check out my reader's blog (https://schatjesshelves.blogspot.com/) and follow me on Twitter (https://twitter.com/DCYakabuski).
… (more)
Schatje | 6 other reviews | Nov 9, 2023 |

“The connection between us is more than a strand of DNA, it is a rope thrown from the past, a fat twisted rope, full of blood.”

As the novel begins, we meet twenty-two-year-old Nell, who seeks to carve out a life for herself as a writer. Her need to be independent prompts her to move out of her mother’s home despite the financial struggles and loneliness it might entail. Nell’s relationship with her mother is complicated. Carmel, the daughter of Irish poet Phil McDaragh, carries the scars of a troubled childhood. Her father abandoned his family – Carmel, her sister and their terminally ill mother for greener pastures but left them with a legacy of debt and emotional trauma. Nell never met her grandfather but has been exposed to his work and is curious to know more about him. As the narrative progresses, we follow Nell as embarks on a deeply personal journey of self-awareness and healing, dealing with her frustration with her work and her relationship with Felim, who is controlling and abusive. We also follow Carmel’s story and are given a glimpse into how her experiences have taken a toll on her personal relationships and contributed to her inability to connect with her daughter, whom she loves dearly.

The Wren, the Wren by Anne Enright is an intense novel that explores the impact of trauma and the deep scars that are passed down through generations of a family. Anne Enright does a remarkable job of portraying the complex mother-daughter dynamic between Nell and Carmen. Multiple perspectives (Nell, Carmel and a brief segment from the PoV of Phil), allow us to explore the motivations, expectations and trauma experienced by the main characters which not only impacts their relationships but also influences their worldview and life choices. Personally, I found Carmel’s perspective the most compelling. The narrative is a tad disjointed and the structure is non-linear, which renders the story somewhat difficult to follow. I loved the poetry interspersed throughout the narrative and thought the sentiments conveyed through those verses beautifully carried the story forward. Despite the lack of cohesiveness throughout the course of the narrative, the author has done a commendable job of weaving the three main threads of the story together into a satisfying ending. I should mention that I did find one particularly descriptive scene of animal cruelty disturbing.

Many thanks to W.W. Norton & Company and NetGalley for the digital review copy. All opinions expressed in this review are my own.
… (more)
srms.reads | 6 other reviews | Oct 30, 2023 |
Gathering. It is what friends and family and colleagues and sometimes even strangers do when someone dies. As an aside, I just attended my very first virtual funeral (a Doom Zoom, we are calling it).
In Elizabeth Enright's Gathering, what is left of a very large family gather to say goodbye to Liam: a son, a brother, an uncle, a beloved who has committed suicide by drowning off the coast of England. Separated in age by a little over a year, sister Veronica Hegerty is Liam's nearest and dearest sibling and more his twin in every sense. It is her responsibility to collect the body and hold the gathering. She tells Liam's story through a series of childhood flashbacks and present-day adult manic musings. Growing up with Liam was a mixture of deep seated secrets and innocence lost. Veronica spends her time trying to puzzle the clues and remembering the memories. Here's what we all do when someone close to us commits suicide: we sift through the ashes of a life burnt out, searching for clues to why they left us; trying to answer the questions of Is it our fault? Did we set the fire? What could we have done differently to save them? (To quote Natalie Merchant, "It was such a nightmare raving how can we save him from himself?" Are you surprised I went there? How could I not?) As for her adult issues, thirty-nine year old Veronica wrestles with problems with her marriage, confused by subliminal hang-ups about sex. She has inner demons that have haunted her since childhood. I honestly can't say how well I enjoyed The Gathering. It did leave me thinking of the characters for a long time afterwards, so there's that.… (more)
SeriousGrace | 204 other reviews | Oct 13, 2023 |



You May Also Like

Associated Authors


Also by
½ 3.3

Charts & Graphs