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Enright's first novel since her Man Booker Prize-winning book The Gathering. The Forgotten Waltz is a book of secrets and longing, bliss and loss.

It is the winter of 2009 and snow covers Dublin. As the city outside comes to a halt, Gina Moynihan recalls the bewildering speed of attraction and her irreparable slip into longing for Seán Vallely, a married man and 'the love of her life'. Gina remembers the days of their affair in one hotel room or another: long afternoons made blank by bliss and denial. As the memories of her desire unfurl, so too do the complications of Gina's choice and the price she must pay for her love. The Forgotten Waltz is an unforgettable portrait of the journey of the human heart. It speaks of the sudden, momentous drama of everyday life, the volatile connections that bind us and the secrets that tear us apart.


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

Enright holds you in a story-telling spell. Mesmerising


Absolute genius

Linda Grant, BBC Radio 4

A brave and unusual variation on a familiar theme... She modulates so finely between comedy and pathos, between psychology and physicality, that she conveys a sense of the richness of lived experience... Anne Enright has taken a great risk in writing this book, but she has brought it off superbly

Edmund Gordon, Daily Telegraph

Devastatingly good

Marie Claire

Forces us to look in the mirror... It is a discomfiting public examination of conscience, an exposé of our national shortcomings so recently in the limelight

Irish Independent

That's the Anne Enright voice all right - wry, disabused, reckless, candid, funny

Hermione Lee, Guardian

[Enright's] amazing ability to engage in lyric flights while keeping her feet on the ground, her way of returing to certain intimate details and of making jumpy little jokes, her habit of using colloquial phrasing to moor Grand Statements, and her rushing, exquisitely turned perceptions

Leo Robson, New Statesman

Where the novel compels is in the attendant disquisitions on memory and its rearrangements, both willed and unwilled; the blurring of boundaries, physical and temporal; the vivid presentation of all characters, major and minor...funny and forgiving

Elspeth Barker, Literary Review

The book...succeeds admirably, because Enright's characters are indeed so ordinary and fallible; they could quite easily be us

Ross Gilfillan, Daily Mail

This beautifully written, lyrical novel is a portrait of family tensions and the listless half-light in which a mistress must live

Jane Clinton, Sunday Express

Enright's prose has a brilliant physicality... Her observations of the Irish boom years are caustic and credible

Tom Gatti, The Times

Enright has taken a simple plot and produced a touching novel that examines the cost - and the compensations - of love. The heroine is both plausible and sympathetic, while the supporting cast is marshalled with skill, tenderness and humour

Max Davidson, Mail on Sunday

A simply and beautifully told tale


A simple tale of adultery and its consequences, told from a female perspective…Enright risks an over-familiarity of the subject matter, but she has brought it off superbly

Daily Telegraph

Enright is brilliant on the emotional battlefields and dance floors that exist between men and women… Smartingly funny and profoundly wise


The Forgotten Waltz delicately weaves the personal and political into a wry, tender exploration of family, marriage and the price of passion

Sorcha Hamilton, Irish Times

Brave, beautiful and quite brilliant

Joseph Oâ??Connor, Irish Independent

A brilliant evocation of an ill-fated extramarital; affair, told with Enright’s customary sharp wit and knack for spotting a love-related cliché

Guardian, Holiday Reads:

The latest novel from the Booker Prize winning author has an emotional heft that belies the novel’s slender size

Sunday Business Post Ireland

a very human tale about passion, secrets and lies.

Reading Matters

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Formats & editions

  • Paperback


    May 1, 2012


    240 pages

    RRP $22.99

    Online retailers

    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
    • Booktopia
    • Boomerang Books
    • Collins Booksellers
    • Dymocks
    • Books Kinokuniya
    • The Nile
    • QBD
    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

Also by Anne Enright

The Green Road
Yesterday's Weather
The Gathering
Taking Pictures
Making Babies
The Pleasure Of Eliza Lynch
What Are You Like
The Portable Virgin
The Wig My Father Wore


The Handmaid's Tale
To Kill A Mockingbird
A Gentleman in Moscow
Echo Burning
Best Laid Plans
The Mistress
The Girl on the Train
The Heart's Invisible Furies
The Narrow Road to the Deep North
Dragonfly In Amber
The Curious Incident of the Dog In the Night-time
Swing Time
The Golden House
The Golden Age
The Girls
The Bear and The Nightingale
Tiger Men
Fifty Shades Darker
The Lost Symbol
Norwegian Wood