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The Green Road

by Anne Enright

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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9676421,316 (3.55)143
Fiction. Literature. HTML:

From internationally acclaimed, Man Booker Prizeâ??winning author Anne Enright comes a shattering novel set in a small town on Ireland's Atlantic coast. The Green Road is a tale of family and fracture, compassion and selfishnessâ??a book about the gaps in the human heart and how we strive to fill them.

Spanning thirty years, The Green Road tells the story of Rosaleen, matriarch of the Madigans, a family on the cusp of either coming together or falling irreparably apart. As they grow up, Rosaleen's four children leave the west of Ireland for lives they could have never imagined in Dublin, New York, and Mali, West Africa. In her early old age their difficult, wonderful mother announces that she's decided to sell the house and divide the proceeds. Her adult children come back for a last Christmas, with the feeling that their childhoods are being erased, their personal history bought and sold.

A profoundly moving work about a family's desperate attempt to recover the relationships they've lost and forge the ones they never had, The Green Road is Enright's most mature, accomplished, and unforgettable novel to date… (more)

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    Three Junes by Julia Glass (tangledthread)
    tangledthread: I kept thinking of Three Junes as I read this book.
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» See also 143 mentions

English (61)  Danish (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (63)
Showing 1-5 of 61 (next | show all)
This review contains mild spoilers.

Anne Enright speaks in the authentic voice of each character in this book: a mother of grown children, a child (later an alcoholic mother and actress), a gay man, a missionary, and a responsible oldest daughter. Her expert shift from voice to voice, especially early in the book, is a pleasure.

The Green Road is a thoughtful exploration family dynamics, with the occasional passage that moves me to tears, rings with truth that transcends this story, or directs a laser focus into my own motivations.


( )
  CatherineB61 | May 31, 2023 |
The Green Road is about a dysfunctional Irish family. It is split into two sections. In Part One, we meet each of the four children and the matriarch, Rosaleen. In Part Two, Rosaleen has decided to sell the family home, and the children return to their home town in Ireland to spend Christmas together. Frankly, I was perplexed as to what the author was trying to convey. The book covers so much ground so quickly that it is difficult to get to know the characters and understand what has led to the dysfunction. I enjoyed the second part much more than the first, once the story moves back to Ireland, where the author is clearly at home. Her descriptions of the Irish countryside are vivid, and the story gained momentum. To me, the ending was rather unsatisfying so it would be difficult for me to recommend it. ( )
  Castlelass | Oct 30, 2022 |
The Green Road, by Anne Enright, is an introspective, remarkable, often poignant story about the four siblings of the Madigan family, and their mercurial, often tempestuous, aging mother, Rosaleen. Set primarily in Enright's native country of Ireland, the narratives of the four children sometimes wander from that green island to America and Mali, carrying with them the subterranean influences of their mother's influence.

This is a story about acceptance: of each other, of ourselves, of the places we inhabit. This could be anyone's story, and because of that Enright has succeeded in making a very specific story a common and relatable one.

The prose, while easy and straightforward, somehow is also quite precise and lush. She weaves description through the narrative with a deft hand, so that the reader is transported.

But the reader should be aware this isn't the sort of novel which immediately grabs you and hauls you into a consuming read. Rather, this is the type of novel to be read carefully, with commitment, working through the opening chapters with complete faith the author knows what's she's about, and will eventually have you quite absorbed and preoccupied with the world she's created.

Definitely a novel worthy of the literary accolades it's been accorded, and definitely a novel worthy of your time. ( )
  fiverivers | Jul 14, 2021 |
What a wonderful discovery—the Irish novelist Anne Enright! I heard a talk she gave that I found among the London Review of Books podcasts. It was called “Adam and Eve and the Origin of Blame”. I have listened to it twice, appreciating the ideas and the wry wit of Enright’s delivery. That same wit is sewn throughout The Green Road.
This tale of a family, a matriarch and her four children, is funny and sad. Enright portrays the individuals acutely; they all lived vividly for me, coherent and unique. I thought the interactions among them were especially believable and the book became harder and harder to put down as it arrived at its conclusion. ( )
  jdukuray | Jun 23, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 61 (next | show all)
The novel's form beautifully embodies its theme. Since it is concerned with breakages and splits, it begins by presenting us with one of Rosaleen's quarrelling children at a time, a chapter for each.
 
Enright withholds closure but doesn’t skimp on pleasure. Barely a page goes by without a striking phrase or insight. She convinces you of her setting, whether it’s west Africa or the East Village. The sons’ stories, unfolding farther afield, are story-driven; the energy in the daughters’ stories comes from the texture of experience (a supermarket run; half-cut on vodka).
 
The characters are so finely realised that they seem continuous: we feel the pressures on Emmet as coming from the long past, part of the air he breathes; we understand that the absence of all three of Constance’s siblings is an unspoken part of her homemaking; most extraordinary of all, we experience Dan’s gaps and distance as part of his character, his distance from himself. It is not much like a novel, but it is a lot like knowing people; an awful lot like being alive.
 

» Add other authors (5 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Enright, Anneprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Collins, Alana KerrNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Doyle, GerardNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gelder, Molly vanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Reinharez, IsabelleTraductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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for Nicky Grene
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Later, after Hanna made some cheese on toast, her mother came in the kitchen and filled a hot water bottle from the big kettle on the range.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Fiction. Literature. HTML:

From internationally acclaimed, Man Booker Prizeâ??winning author Anne Enright comes a shattering novel set in a small town on Ireland's Atlantic coast. The Green Road is a tale of family and fracture, compassion and selfishnessâ??a book about the gaps in the human heart and how we strive to fill them.

Spanning thirty years, The Green Road tells the story of Rosaleen, matriarch of the Madigans, a family on the cusp of either coming together or falling irreparably apart. As they grow up, Rosaleen's four children leave the west of Ireland for lives they could have never imagined in Dublin, New York, and Mali, West Africa. In her early old age their difficult, wonderful mother announces that she's decided to sell the house and divide the proceeds. Her adult children come back for a last Christmas, with the feeling that their childhoods are being erased, their personal history bought and sold.

A profoundly moving work about a family's desperate attempt to recover the relationships they've lost and forge the ones they never had, The Green Road is Enright's most mature, accomplished, and unforgettable novel to date

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