Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Book Review: The Green Road

As I work my way through my Read Harder Challenge, I’m always keeping my eye out for books that I may not have picked up on my own. The Green Road by Anne Enright is one of these books.


Spanning thirty years and set in Ireland, the United States, and Africa, The Green Road tells the story of Rosaleen Madigan as she watches her four children grow up to adulthood and the choices, both good and bad, that are made along the way.

There is a long introduction to each of the characters, so you really do understand each of their perspectives well, and Enright’s writing is quite beautiful. This is a book about the circle of life. About how we may not always feel like we’re connected to our siblings, or even our parents, but that families ties don’t easily break.

The last line of this book hit home for me. I don’t want to spoil it, so you’ll have to pick up a copy of your own to see, but it’s a reminder about what is important in life and the fleeting passage of time.

I imagine for mamas reading this book, and especially for mamas whose children are older, many themes in this book will resonate strongly. It made me pause and reflect on what I want my relationship with my own son to look like when I’m older and he’s moved out of our family home. In this month meant to celebrate mothers, reading this book made me want to call my own mom and catch up. To let her know that no matter where I may be in this world, a part of her will always be my “home”. 

Excerpt from an author interview with Anne Enright
Can you describe your novel, The Green Road?
Four children grow up and move away from their childhood home in the west of Ireland. They go everywhere, have full, interesting, and complex lives, and then, in 2005, their elderly mother declares she is going to sell the house. So they all troop back for their Irish family Christmas and try to sleep one last time in their own beds. They must bring their inner child home with them, only to meet their outer mother, Rosaleen: a woman who is sometimes wonderful and always difficult. This book is about compassion, how the heart gets smaller as we age, and how we try to fix that, if we can.

Rosaleen’s restless children live all over the globe but return to Ireland when their family home is about to be sold. How important is home and can you ever escape it?
You can free yourself of many kinds of difficulty, over time, but home is where those difficulties begin and where we can think they can be solved, so the pull toward it is very strong. It is, besides, nice. It is good to feel “at home”.


Anne Enright (also winner of the The Man Booker Prize for The Gathering) is beginning her book tour next week. She has a number of dates in the US from May 10-16 and is also right here in Toronto on Tuesday, May 19th through the Toronto Public Library for a free event where she will be doing readings from The Green Road. Tickets are available here.

Update - I loved seeing Anne Enright speak at the library recently. Check it out here

xo
Jenn

Disclaimer – I was sent a complementary copy of The Green Road for review. All thoughts and opinions about this book and wonderments about motherhood are my own.

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