> Skip to content
  • Published: 21 May 2024
  • ISBN: 9781529922905
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 288
  • RRP: $22.99

The Wren, The Wren

The Booker Prize-winning author

Shortlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction, a sparkling family story of love, betrayal and reunion

Nell is a young woman with adventure on her mind. As she sets out into the world, she finds her family history hard to escape. For her mother, Carmel, Nell’s leaving home opens a space in her heart, where the turmoil of a lifetime begins to churn. Over them both falls the long shadow of Carmel’s famous father, an Irish poet of beautiful words and brutal actions.

From our greatest chronicler of family life, The Wren, The Wren is a story of the love that can unite us, and the individual acts that threaten this vital bond.

  • Published: 21 May 2024
  • ISBN: 9781529922905
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 288
  • RRP: $22.99

About the author

Anne Enright

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 Gáis 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.

Also by Anne Enright

See all

Praise for The Wren, The Wren

Anne Enright's style is as sharp and brilliant as Joan Didion's; the scope of her understanding is as wide as Alice Munro's; her vision of Ireland is as brave and original as Edna O'Brien's

Colm Tóibín, author of Brooklyn

One of our greatest living novelists

The Times

The unofficial rock star of literary fiction

Irish Times

One of the most significant writers of her generation... A master

Sunday Times

This is Anne Enright at her best - a glorious multi-generational novel of mothers and daughters, of tangled relationships, secrets, bodies, sex. Sharp, sudden, mischievous, sublime - this is a dazzling novel. Nell must be one of the best young women I've read in recent Irish fiction

Lucy Caldwell, author of Intimacies

Somehow both classic and thoroughly contemporary. Very few writers could capably achieve such a thing and I remain, as ever, in awe of Anne's talents

Sara Baume, author of A Line Made by Walking

Stylistically magnificent and profoundly moving, Enright blows our hearts and minds to smithereens once again with The Wren, The Wren. Full of humour, intellect, empathy and grace this multi-generational novel is singular in its vim, freshness and wit

Helen Cullen, author of The Truth Must Dazzle Gradually

These pages practically crackle with intelligence, compassion and wit. Phil McDaragh is so real I almost googled him. The Wren, The Wren might just be Anne Enright's best yet

Louise Kennedy, author of Trespasses

I could not put this book down, and felt at a loss when I got to the end. A novel of great heft and intelligence, with that mix of wit, rage and great tenderness that is Enright's hallmark. In Nell I found the best depiction of the life and mind of a contemporary young woman I've read

Mary Costello, author of Academy Street

The Wren, The Wren is simultaneously all text, and all subtext, because Anne Enright is a genius whose novels function on several planes. She takes on major Irish literary genres but amplifies them, transcends them, arriving at a new place, which we shall call love, which we shall call life, which we shall even call joy

Claire Kilroy, author of The Devil I Know

Tender, acutely observed, shocking at times. Enright perfectly captures the experience of a woman in her twenties, thirties, forties and fifties. Women rise throughout The Wren, The Wren, rising above abusive relationships and casual abandonment, sometimes inflicting violence on each other - but still rising into better times. Magnificent

Priscilla Morris, author of Black Butterflies

The Wren, The Wren is a magnificent novel. Anne Enright's stylistic brilliance seems to put the reader directly in touch with her characters and the rich territory of their lives

Sally Rooney, author of NORMAL PEOPLE

Alive and intricate, Enright's characters speak with a sharp-edged irony that opens into tenderness. As The Wren, The Wren unfolds, time does too. This is a humane and compulsive novel about the abandonments and reconciliations of love. Unsparing, witty, and full of hard-earned beauty

Seán Hewitt, author of All Down Darkness Wide

To call Anne Enright's new novel a moving, nuanced glimpse at three generations of Irish life underplays its thrilling expansiveness: in the end, The Wren, The Wren is an electrifying romp through language itself - its dizzying possibilities and satisfactions - led by one the most gifted writers working in English today

Jennifer Egan, author of The Candy House

An astounding book. Anne Enright is the best living writer on the family and its difficult, disquieting intimacies, pulling back the sheets on sex and love, and meditating too on the complex inheritance of what it is to be an Irish writer

Olivia Laing, author of The Lonely City

Gritty, sad, sly, riotous... Gem-packed language that fizzes like a sidewalk firecracker. A must-read

Margaret Atwood, author of THE HANDMAID'S TALE (via Twitter)

Another exquisite read from the inimitable Booker prize-winning author


I absolutely loved The Wren, The Wren. What an utterly wonderful novel! It got into my very bones. It's magnificent. Proof once again that Anne can do things with sentences that nobody else can

Danielle McLaughlin, author of The Art of Falling

A book of musical tenderness and devastating precision, The Wren, The Wren makes its own weather - whilst reading, your heart will work to Enright's beat

Kiran Millwood Hargrave, author of The Girl of Ink and Stars

Spellbinding… The Wren, the Wren is, like so much of Enright’s work, a supple scrutiny of familial relationships… We can feel how language, when it is sufficiently well arrayed, can cross the spaces between the page and the heart and, as Enright’s always does, hit home


A triumph… This is Enright’s best novel since The Gathering, and its absence from this year’s Booker longlist is nothing less than a miscarriage of literary justice. Readers must find it and treasure it regardless

Sunday Times

Masterful… The finest novel I have read in a long time

Daily Telegraph

Shards of brilliance flash in every direction... Damn, Enright can write

The Times

Vivid, voluble and deeply gratifying… A finely tuned account of an Irish family and the traumas handed down across generations

Financial Times

A slow-burning commentary on ancestry, love and longing, which leaves enough unsaid to truly captivate its reader


For all Phil’s appalling behaviour, it is testament to Enright’s subtlety as an author that she portrays his legacy – as a poet and a father – in all its complexity, presenting a compelling and memorable portrait of a mother-daughter relationship that persists in the face of adversity

Sunday Express

Enright expertly arranges echos and juxtapositions to achieve both psychological depth and formal beauty… The text is studded with Phil’s poems – but the real poetry is to be found in Enright’s prose, which is on sparkling form throughout


Enright is still at the business of obliquely charting the course of change in Irish life… A wonderfully astute and idiosyncratic commentator, with an eye for an oddity

Literary Review

A literary gem


The Wren, The Wren is Anne Enright at her lyrical, storytelling best

Nicola Sturgeon, New Statesman, *Books of the Year*

A work of astounding ventriloquism and hard-won hope about women’s lives

Times Literary Supplement, *Books of the Year*

This is the golden age of Irish prose fiction. Of our many prodigiously talented novelist, few have the all-encompassing deftness of touch of Anne Enright

Times Literary Supplement, *Books of the Year*

A masterly novel

Sunday Times, *Books of the Year*

Anne Enright’s The Wren, The Wren is so good they named it twice, so good I read it twice – and read two different novels, because moral positions are incorrigibly plural in Enrightville

Observer, *Books of the Year*

A brilliant and fierce novel… Featuring brilliant and fierce women characters, about the crossing (or uncrossing) of the most difficult border, that which exists within families

Yiyun Li, Observer, *Books of the Year*

One of my books of any year. It’s about womanhood, youth and that slow, painful, but joyous estrangement that emerges between mother and daughter as life runs its tumultuous course

Michael Magee, Observer, *Books of the Year*

The Wren, The Wren may be her best book yet

Guardian, *Books of the Year*

Wonderful… This deceptively modest novel is the kind of book that will work on you long after you have put it down

Sunday Times, *Books of the Year*

Patiently and brilliantly wrought

Discover more

A useful guide to Anne Enright

A guide to author Anne Enright and her books.