Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Review: The Green Road by Anne Enright

Title: The Green Road
Author: Anne Enright
Format: ARC
Publisher: W.W. Norton and Co.
Publish Date: May 11, 2015
Source: I received a copy from the publisher as part of my work with the Gaithersburg Book Festival. This did not affect my review.

What's the Story?:

From "Spanning thirty years and three continents, The Green Road tells the story of Rosaleen, matriarch of the Madigan family, and her four children.

Ardeevin, County Clare, Ireland. 1980. When her oldest brother Dan announces he will enter the priesthood, young Hanna watches her mother howl in agony and retreat to her room. In the years that follow, the Madigan children leave one by one: Dan for the frenzy of New York under the shadow of AIDS; Constance for a hospital in Limerick, where petty antics follow simple tragedy; Emmet for the backlands of Mali, where he learns the fragility of love and order; and Hanna for modern-day Dublin and the trials of her own motherhood. When Christmas Day reunites the children under one roof, each confronts the terrible weight of family ties and the journey that brought them home. The Green Road is a major work of fiction about the battles we wage for family, faith, and love."

My Two Cents: 

"The Green Road" is the latest release by the new (and first) fiction laureate of Ireland, Anne Enright. This is the richly detailed story of the Madigan family. Set over thirty years, this book follows Rosaleen and her four children spread throughout Ireland, the United States, and West Africa. Rosaleen has a definitive idea as to how a family is supposed to be and how a family is supposed to act. She cannot understand how her children could feel differently. So when one son, Dan, makes a stunning announcement at Christmas, Rosaleen's thought of perfection is shattered.

I loved reading about this family. Each child is so different and each of them are facing their own struggles. I thought the most compelling story was really Dan's story. He is hiding a secret from his conservative Irish family in the 1980s that he feels like he can never tell them. He is gay and is living in New York City during the AIDS crisis of the 1980s and 1990s. It's a lot of pressure and he builds a story of what he is doing in America in order to hide what he is really going through. It's heartbreaking that he cannot tell his family but he knows that it will upend the delicate balance of his family so he never says anything. I really liked the way that his character was written.

Not only is there a compelling story but the writing of the book is wonderful! The way that Ms. Enright writes the characters truly brings them to life effortlessly. At its core, this book is about what it truly means to be a family even when things do not go as planned. This is the first book that I have read by her but I know there will be more in my future! 

Head on over to the Gaithersburg Book Festival site for a great interview that Ms. Enright did for her publisher!


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