Another gem from Anne Enright. If you haven’t read her previous stuff, I highly recommend her novels.
The Green Road is the story of the Madigan family and it spans practically 30 years. It steps in to show stories of the mother, Rosaleen and her four children, Dan, Constance, Emmet, and Hanna. It follows them across continents and decades. We watch the Madigan family grow up, grow apart and we see how they are when they come back together. Though they were raised together and share like experiences, the siblings have taken their own paths and become very separate and unique.
In the beginning, Dan determines he wants to be a priest. His mother is against his decision and forces him on a different path. He ventures furthest from home and eventually ends up in Toronto, Canada. Emmet ventures to Dublin, but doesn’t settle down. Constance stays close and interacts with mother Rosaleen the most. Constance has stepped into the role of caretaker. Hanna doesn’t go far, but far enough. She starts here own family, a husband and a daughter. She doesn’t love where she’s ended up, but ends up feeling content about it.
The book ends as the family comes together at Rosaleen’s demand. She threatens the sale of the house to lure them home. Like many large families, it becomes increasingly difficult to come together all at one time. In this novel, the family manages to get back to Ardeevin, a little house in Ireland to visit Mom all at the same time. Drama ensues, emotions are exposed, but the family remains honest and loving throughout. Each of them feels a different reason for needing to be there one last time. The novel is a touching portrait of a family, who knows when to keep their distance and finds harmony when together. Each of the Madigans are unique and interesting in their own way, each could command their own novel, but it is when they come together when you really get to see their personalities.
Enright is one of my favorite novelists. Her novels move at a slower, quiet pace but cut deep into emotions of people and family.
Part-time fiction writer, Alisha Churbe lives in Portland, Oregon. In the rare instances when you can pry her away from books, Alisha can be found travelling in foreign countries, cooking, or hiking with her husband Michael and dog Euro.
Review copy was provided free of any obligation by W.W. Norton & Company. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.