Author bio

Anne Enright

Anne Enright - book author

Anne Enright was born in Dublin, where she now lives and works. She has published three volumes of stories, one book of nonfiction, and five novels. In 2015, she was named the inaugural Laureate for Irish Fiction. Her novel The Gathering won the Man Booker Prize, and The Forgotten Waltz won the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction.

Anne Enright is the author of books: The Gathering, The Green Road, The Forgotten Waltz, Making Babies: Stumbling into Motherhood, Yesterday's Weather, What are You Like?, Taking Pictures, The Wig My Father Wore, The Granta Book of the Irish Short Story, The Pleasure of Eliza Lynch

Author books

Anne Enright is a dazzling writer of international stature and one of Ireland’s most singular voices. Now she delivers The Gathering, a moving, evocative portrait of a large Irish family and a shot of fresh blood into the Irish literary tradition, combining the lyricism of the old with the shock of the new. The nine surviving children of the Hegarty clan are gathering in Dublin for the wake of their wayward brother, Liam, drowned in the sea. His sister, Veronica, collects the body and keeps the dead man company, guarding the secret she shares with him—something that happened in their grandmother’s house in the winter of 1968. As Enright traces the line of betrayal and redemption through three generations her distinctive intelligence twists the world a fraction and gives it back to us in a new and unforgettable light. The Gathering is a daring, witty, and insightful family epic, clarified through Anne Enright’s unblinking eye. It is a novel about love and disappointment, about how memories warp and secrets fester, and how fate is written in the body, not in the stars.
From internationally acclaimed 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 selfishness—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.
In this extraordinary novel, Anne Enright explores the momentous drama of everyday life; the volatile connections between people; the wry, accurate take on families, marriage, and brittle middle age.

In Terenure, a pleasant suburb of Dublin, it has snowed. Gina Moynihan, girl about town, recalls the trail of lust and happenstance that brought her to fall for "the love of her life," Seán Vallely. As the city outside comes to a halt, Gina remembers their affair: long afternoons made blank by bliss and denial. Now, as the silent streets and falling snow make the day luminous and full of possibility, Gina awaits the arrival of Seán's fragile, twelve-year-old daughter, Evie - the complication, and gravity, of this second life.

In this extraordinary novel, Anne Enright speaks directly to the readers she won with The Gathering. Here again is the momentous drama of everyday life; the volatile connections between people; the wry, accurate take on families, marriage, and brittle middle age. With The Forgotten Waltz Enright turns her attention to love, following another unforgettable heroine on a journey of the heart. Writing at the height of her powers, this is Enright's tour de force, a novel of intelligence, passion, and distinction.
Anne Enright, one of Ireland's most remarkable writers, has just had two babies: a girl and a boy. Making Babies, is the intimate, engaging, and very funny record of the journey from early pregnancy to age two. Written in dispatches, typed with a sleeping baby in the room, it has the rush of good news - full of the mess, the glory, and the raw shock of it all. An antidote to the high-minded, polemical 'How-to' baby manuals, Making Babies also bears a visceral and dreamlike witness to the first years of parenthood. Anne Enright wrote the truth of it as it happened, because, for these months and years, it is impossible for a woman to lie.
From the author of the Man Booker Prize— winning literary sensation and long-time Globe and Mail bestseller The Gathering, comes a dazzling, seductive new collection of stories.

“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

A rich collection of sharp, vivid stories of loss and yearning, of the ordinary defeats and unexpected delights that grow out of the bonds between husbands and wives, mothers and children, and intimate strangers.

Bringing together in a single elegant edition new stories as well as a selection of stories never before published in Canada (from her UK published The Portable Virgin, 1991), Yesterday’s Weather exhibits the unsettling, carefully drawn reality, the subversive wit, and the awkward tenderness that mark Anne Enright as one of the most thrillingly gifted writers of our time.
Anne Enright is one of the most exciting writers of Ireland's younger generation, a beguiling storyteller The Seattle Times has praised for "the ... way she writes about women ...their adventures to know who they are through sex, despair, wit and single-minded courage." In What Are You Like?, Maria Delahunty, raised by her grieving father after her mother died during childbirth, finds herself in her twenties awash in nameless longing and in love with the wrong man. Going through his things, she finds a photograph that will end up unraveling a secret more devastating than her father's long mourning, but more pregnant with possibility. Moving between Dublin, New York, and London, What Are You Like? is a breathtaking novel of twins and irretrievable losses, of a woman haunted by her missing self, and of our helplessness against our fierce connection to our origins. What Are You Like? has been selected as a finalist for the Whitbread Award. It is a novel, Newsday wrote, that "announces [Enright's] excellence as though it were stamped on the cover in boldface." "Richly descriptive ... Slightly surreal, revelatory images are hallmarks of Enright's writing, which beguiles throughout." -- Melanie Rehak, US Weekly "Cool, wicked, and quintessentially Irish ... Anne Enright tells a sharp, stylish tale in an accent all her own." -- Annabel Lyon, The National Post (Toronto)
The stories in Taking Pictures are snapshots of the body in trouble: in denial, in extremis, in love. Mapping the messy connections between people - and their failures to connect - the characters are captured in the grainy texture of real life: freshly palpable, sensuous and deeply flawed.

From Dublin to Venice, from an American college dorm to a holiday caravan in France, these are stories about women stirred, bothered, or fascinated by men they cannot understand, or understand too well. Enright's women are haunted by children, and by the ghosts of the lives they might have led - lit by new flames, old flames, and flames that are guttering out.A woman's one night stand is illuminated by dreams of a young boy on a cliff road, another's is thwarted by an swarm of somnolent bees. A pregnant woman is stuck in a slow lift with a tactile American stranger, a naked mother changes a nappy in a hotel bedroom, and waits for her husband to come back from the bar. These are sharp, vivid stories of loss and yearning, of surrender to responsibilities or to unexpected delight; all share the unsettling, dislocated reality, the subversive wit and awkward tenderness that have marked Anne Enright as one of our most thrillingly gifted writers.
The second novel to be published in America by widely acclaimed Irish author Anne Enright, The Wig My Father Wore is a spry, hilarious novel about parents, love, religion, and the absurdities of them all. Grace is a young Dubliner who works on a television show called Love Quiz. Her father is going benignly senile, but her life otherwise seems fairly solid. When Stephen arrives on her doorstep, however, Grace has no idea what she's in for. Stephen explains that he is an angel, a former bridge builder who committed suicide in 1934. He has been sent back to earth (as all suicides are) to guide lost souls. Grace does not take this personally at first, but eventually she has to face the idea that things are not so easy, and that her greatest intimacy is with this supernatural creature. As Grace begins to take stock of her life and the prospect of caring enough about something to fight for it, The Wig My Father Wore takes us on a moving, surreal romp through Catholicism, parents, and the reclamation of love from the twin modern evils of cynicism and the detritus of pop culture.
Lyrical, dark, comic or iconoclastic, the Irish short story has always punched well above its weight. Anne Enright has brought together a dazzling collection of Irish stories by authors born in the twentieth century - from Mary Lavin and Frank O'Connor to Claire Keegan and Kevin Barry. With a pithy and passionate introduction by Enright, The Granta Book of the Irish Short Story traces this great tradition through decades of social change and shows the pleasure Irish writers continue to take in the short-story form. Deft and often devastating, the short story dodges the rolling mythologies of of Irish life to produce truths that are delightful and real. Also includes stories by: Maeve Brennan, Roddy Doyle, Mary Lavin, Colum McCann, William Trevor, John McGahern, Colm Toibin, Claire Keegan and Kevin Barry.
The novel opens in Paris, in the midst of the sexual embrace that makes Eliza Lynch the mistress of Francisco Solano López, the third dictator of Paraguay. She is nineteen years old but wise beyond her years-initiated into sex by a Mr. Bennett, a friend of her family's, while still at school, she has had many lovers and even been married, to an abusive Frenchman named Quatrefages from whom she escaped in north Africa to return to Paris. She is currently a society paramour who maintains a respectable façade even while sleeping with a dressmaker in exchange for credit. López is a young comer in Paraguayan politics, the son of the current dictator, who is in Europe on a diplomatic tour and to recruit engineers and others to help on his plan to build the first railway in South America. He goes to Eliza Lynch for French lessons, but history has other plans for them. A few months later, Eliza realizes she is pregnant.

Eliza accompanies López on his tour of the continent and they are now aboard the Tacuarí, having made the Atlantic crossing and navigating the Rio Parana towards Asunción, Paraguay, López's home. Hugely pregnant, Eliza swings in a hammock feeling simultaneously imperious (she drinks champagne, cooled by being dragged through the river's water on a rope; she presides over card games which mimic the high society she has left behind and gets to know the English engineer and Scottish doctor her husband has hired) and helpless, completely out of her element in a tropical, buggy landscape. But Eliza is a quick study-she befriends Miltón, her husband's Guaraní Indian servant, who teaches her to starch her dresses with porridge to combat the humidity, as the locals do, and quickly begins to think about fixing up Francine, her maid, with one of the men her husband has recruited to assist in his nationalist ambitions. Eliza proves herself a formidable woman, with exactly the right combination of strength, will, resources, and the strategic ability to make allowances for the powerful that will prove her, over the course of López's rule, his most powerful ally. When it becomes clear López-"my dear friend" as Eliza calls him-wants to sleep with Francine himself, Eliza sends the girl off to him, consolidating her own power even as she betrays herself. As they arrive in Asunción, she dresses in a lilac gown that is at the cutting edge of Paris fashion, astonishing the crowd at the pier with her poise, her beauty, her blonde, physical foreignness, even as she is going into labor. Throughout the book, chapters that tell the story of the journey up the Rio Parana, written in Eliza's voice, are interspersed with chapters narrated mostly by Dr. Stewart, the Scottish physician, telling of the legend she later becomes, of the war her husband wages, and of its consequences for her and the men whose company she kept in the elegiac, innocent days aboard the Tacuarí.

Eliza becomes a scandal when they reach Paraguay. From the moment of their arrival in Asunción, which quickly gains the status of popular legend as Eliza's union with López becomes a national fact, she is a larger-than-life figure. López's family rejects her, but the strength of his will-he is a man whose ambitions may not be refused, from the quotidian desire to possess a woman, to the political desire that will shape Paraguayan history-establishes Eliza as something they will have to deal with. Her son is born, though Stewart, who was to have been her personal physician, is so horrified by her as a person that he does not attend the birth. She has the boy christened in order to make him the legitimate heir (despite his bastard origins and the existence of another son by López's previous mistress). The women of Paraguayan society shun her-she builds a beautiful Quinta (villa) where she entertains all the strategically important men, but none of the women will befriend her. She hosts a picnic on board the Tacuarí to celebrate the importation of some Basque peasants who are supposed to build a new town. All the women of Asunción attend, but none of them will speak to her. As retaliation, she has Miltón, in the role of major-domo, throw all the food overboard, and keeps the ship at anchor in the hot sun for most of the day, until the women are fainting from the heat. In an act which hastens the old López's decline and her lover's ascent to head of state, Eliza builds a gorgeous theater, modeled on the great theaters of Europe, and mounts a play written by a European actor she has imported, but based on Paraguayan national themes. It is her bid for the office, even if only symbolic, of Paraguayan First Lady. Francine, the maid, dies horribly, of a tropical illness that eats away much of her jaw and facial features-and in treating Francine, Stewart reconciles with Eliza.

In 1865, three years after his father's death, López's territorial disputes with Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay lead to the War of the Triple Alliance, with tiny Paraguay at war with all tttttthree nations. Dr. Stewart, the Scottish doctor we met on the Tacuarí (and who is now married to a Paraguayan society girl named Venancia Baez, whom he has grown to intermittently love and find extremely annoying), watches as the war grows and becomes ever more bloody and farcical-it will eventually result in the deaths of what is reportedly half the national population-and López's sanity becomes more and more questionable. He envisions the war as a vast canvas of would-be heroism and actual shame and ruin. And whither López, so goes Eliza. Rumors are that it is her ambition and rapaciousness more than his that spurs on the war; that she is his procuress, providing him with an endless succession of girls whose virginity she verifies herself; even that she is a cannibal who eats the battlefield dead. Public appearances are more and more rare, but Stewart does see her in the road near a graveyard late one night, walking without her usual entourage, completely alone. He follows her for a time, then catches up and walks her home, and at the door kisses her, and magnifies that kiss in his imagination into a sexual embrace. It is not until years later that he realizes she must have been visiting the grave of a child who died in infancy. She gives a dinner-party for him and some of the rising officers of the army, and in a brief moment away from company reveals her sadness to him. All of the officers are a little in love with her, Stewart reflects. She reveals that Benigno, her husband's brother, hates her and plots against her, which is why she has come to the front. She has now borne López several sons.

The final action of the war takes place with Eliza's black coach-a carriage she has had painted with twelve coats of black lacquer, and drawn by midnight-colored horses-leading the Paraguayan army into retreat. López's madness is full-blown. He is demanding absolute, blind allegiance from all of his countrymen and executes men daily for disloyalty, including his own family (particularly the brother who alienated Eliza). Stewart, exhausted after five years at war, is led through the battlefield by a Guaraní Indian girl who becomes obscurely comforting to him in the long absence of his wife. He finds comfort in her arms once but realizes she is younger than he thought and, after that, merely relies on her for someone to warm himself against in the night. He has become López's personal doctor which requires him to examine his stool and dress his gonorrheic penis in chalk to prevent (or stave off) its drip. Eliza, too, is losing her mind-her firstborn son, who has become a kind of golden symbol for the possible new Paraguay, reveals that she does not sleep at night, subsisting on naps for a few minutes at a time. At night, Stewart can hear her in her tent, fighting with López. "When will you marry me?" she shouts. But López's irrefutable will takes her over once again and soon they are making love.

It is only a matter of time, however, before the Brazilian army overtakes them, and when they do López is immediately shot and killed (though, like Rasputin, there is some suggestion that he was still alive when he fell off his horse into the river and drowned). Stewart, still on the battlefield, manages to avoid being killed himself by brandishing his forceps, and the men watch (unable to join in on penalty of being shot) as Eliza, iron of will to the end, digs a grave for her lover and their dead sons and buries them with her own hands.

Stewart's last glimpse of Eliza Lynch occurs three years later in Edinburgh, where he has brought Venancia and his family. He and Venancia have rediscovered a sweet, middle-aged love and she has taken to life in Scotland. One day he is strolling the main road with his daughter when he sees the Indian Miltón, still in Eliza's service, standing by her coach. Then he sees Eliza herself, walking up to a door, regal as ever and her golden hair flaming in the sun. He realizes she must have made some sort of deal with Camarrá, the Brazilian general, recalling her exodus in chains (but alive, and accompanied by all of her belongings and retinue). And now she is in Edinburgh, likely visiting her lawyers regarding money Stewart brought with him out of Paraguay, taxes on the export of yerba mate which were granted to him by López years before.