A guide to author Anne Enright and her books.
You might recognise the name ‘Anne Enright’ for the several awards that have been bestowed upon the author over the years.
And while she’s clearly a born talent, Anne was not always an author by trade. Working in the TV industry, Anne’s occupations were always of the writerly inclination – but it wasn’t until a self-described ‘breakdown’ forced her out of work that she transferred media from the screen to the page.
Her first novel, The Wig My Father Wore, foretold Anne’s success as an author with its combination of wry humour, cultural insight and delectable prose. Fast-forward less than a decade, and Anne’s novel The Gathering was named winner of the 2007 Man Booker Prize – an accolade that most authors only dream of.
Since then, Anne has continued an outpouring of outstanding work with each book just as intriguing as the last. But . . . where should you start if you’ve never read her books before?
Scroll on for a brief description of some of the author’s most popular works. Whether you’re a non-fiction fan or love a novel, there's something here for everyone.
A guide to Anne Enright's books
Anne Enright’s latest novel, The Wren, The Wren is a stunning exploration of the love between a mother and daughter. Centring around Carmel and her daughter, Nell, the book traces the things we pass on from one generation to the next. When Nell leaves home, Carmel is forced to face the turmoil of a lifetime as the shadow of her famous father looms large over both women. Despite its darker elements, the book is nevertheless about wonder and resilience – and the transcendent power of the mother-daughter relationship.
Like The Wren, The Wren, Actress also tells the story of a mother and daughter. Katherine O’Dell is an Irish theatre legend, and her daughter Norah knows no life other than watching her mother from the wings. As she grows older, however, Norah comes to realise that most of her mother’s life is a performance. Seeking to uncover her mother’s secrets, Norah searches for the truth – acquiring her own secrets along the way. Will she uncover the dark secret that finally drove her mother mad, or will trying to uncover the past drive Norah mad herself?
In her memoir about early motherhood, Making Babies, Anne Enright laid bare the triumphs and travails of the first few years of motherhood. To say that the book struck a note would be an understatement, as it became a Sunday Times and Irish Top Ten bestseller. An antidote to high-minded baby manuals, the book’s visceral – and often funny – scenes are a refreshing take on what the ‘magic of motherhood’ really looks like.
Winner of the 2007 Man Booker Prize, The Gathering follows the nine surviving children of the Hegarty clan as they gather in Dublin for the wake of their brother Liam. Retracting the family history, the buried secrets, the love and the disappointment of the siblings, the book reflects on the nature of fate – and the ways that betrayal and redemption weave the tapestry that makes up any life.
Anne Enright’s first novel, The Wig My Father Wore, is a darkly humorous story about a TV producer named Grace whose life turns upside down when an angel named Stephen comes knocking on her door. A former bridge builder, Stephen explains that because he died by suicide, he is required to return to earth to guide lost souls. Through a series of surreal events, Grace begins to understand the madness that surrounds her – slowly transforming from cynical to innocent.
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