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Family and Fiction: Anne Enright

Listen to Family and Fiction: Anne Enright

Photo of Pamela Paul and Anne Enright at Northcote Town Hall

Pamela Paul and Anne Enright at Northcote Town Hall

Anne Enright is known for exploring the complexities and banalities of family life with a steely, satirical eye. As a theme in literature, ‘family’ has sometimes suffered against unfair prejudices, especially when explored by women writers, but Enright writes with a virtuosity that makes a nonsense of the stigma.

It’s not just the way the Irish author navigates the universal theme of family life that has won her accolades, including the Man Booker Prize (for The Gathering in 2007) and the title of Fiction Laureate of Ireland. Enright is a brilliant and funny prose stylist, with a gift for stunning aphorisms.

Her most recent book, The Green Roadhas won praise across the world, including among the harshest critics of Irish literature – the Irish. The story, which hinges on a Christmas reunion of a large Irish family, sees Enright playing boldly with tropes and stereotypes from the country’s literary tradition. ‘This is an Irish novel that is afraid of nothing,’ wrote one critic‘least of all of being thought of as an Irish novel.’

Join this masterful writer for a discussion of family and fiction, with New York Times Book Review editor Pamela Paul. They discuss Irish families, motherhood, different types of love and the choices we have (or, in the case of family, don't) in who we love.

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