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.Read more...
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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.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2015-03-02
- Reviewer: Staff
The eponymous road of Enright’s flawless novel is in County Clare in Ireland, running from the impoverished farm of handsome Pat Madigan in Boolavaun, to a house called Ardeevin, where he wooed Rosaleen Considine, daughter of the town’s leading family. Pat and Rosaleen marry and have four children. A volatile drama queen, Rosaleen is the fulcrum about which her children warily move. Even as they mature and flee from her embrace, she exists in their heads, where they continue to blame her for their bad fortunes. In 1980, Rosaleen takes to her bed when Dan, the eldest and her favorite, announces his intention to become a priest. She is even more aggrieved when he abandons the priesthood for the art community in New York in the 1990s and eventually allows his true sexual nature to emerge in a series of ardent gay trysts. Enright (winner of the Man Booker Prize for The Gathering) writes of this time and place with crystalline clarity. The tone is much different in the chapters set in Ardeevin, where the lilt of Irish vernacular permeates the dialogue. Meanwhile Emmet, the second son, is engaged in relief work in Mali, trying to retain his sanity as the death toll from famine mounts and his girlfriend lavishes her love on a mangy dog. Hanna, his sister, is an aspiring actress and a drunk who confronts reality at 37, bitterly ambivalent about being the mother of an unplanned baby. The fourth sibling, Constance, who has married well and lives with her happy family in Limmerick, is her mother’s dogsbody and the unappreciated provider. This novel is a vibrant family portrait, both pitiless and compassionate, witty and stark, of simple people living quiet lives of anguish, sometimes redeemed by moments of grace. (May)