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Monday, August 31, 2015

The Green Road by Anne Enright

This book was long listed for the Booker prize this year, but I would have picked it up to read anyway, because I like this author.  She is Irish and she is a chronicler of the modern Irish experience. Her books that I like best are set in her homeland, and this is no exception to that rule.

The story chronicles the five living members of the Madigan clan.  Rosaleen is the mother and her four children are Dan, Emmet, Constance and Hanna.  Hanna and Constance live in Ireland and Dan and Emmet do not.  The Irish diaspora is well represented here, as are the varied textures of differences that exist within families.  Dan is gay, Emmet is commitment avoidant and perhaps intimacy impaired as well, Hanna is an alcoholic, and Constance is the child who pretty clearly will take care of Rosaleen when the time comes.  The book introduces them each on their own, and then brings them together under one roof for Christmas when Rosaleen decides to sell her house.  She does so in order to give each of her children money because none of them seems to be able to manage that on their own.  The writing is at once direct and lyrical.  The one thing it lacks is an ending that ties it all together, but that is an acceptable flaw in my mind.

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