The celebrated Irish novelist Anne Enright, once observed that being a mother means "being nice to your children as often as possible". It's a great idea, but tough to achieve. Or, just easier to ignore if you're the matriarch at the centre of Ms. Enright's latest novel The Green Road.
Rosaleen is in her late seventies. She presides over the Madigan clan - which includes four grown children: Constance, Dan, Emmet and Hanna. She's grumpy and demanding, self-centred and self-pitying. None of her children measure up to expectations, and she lets them know it. Which may be why all but one have scattered around the globe, spending as little time as possible in her company. When Rosaleen decides to sell the family home, everyone gathers for one last Christmas dinner, and mundane tensions erupt into a crisis.
Anne Enright often writes about the complicated stew that is a family. In her novel The Gathering, a sister tries to understand her brother's suicide. And The Forgotten Waltz is the story of an adulterous affair. Critical response to The Green Road has been rapturous.
Anne Enright won the Man Booker Prize and the Irish Fiction Award for The Gathering. Her last novel, The Forgotten Waltz, was awarded the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction. She is also the author of a collection of short stories entitled Yesterday's Weather. And she was recently named the inaugural "Laureate for Irish Fiction".