The Green Road centres on the Madigan family: Rosaleen, who still lives in the old family home in a County Clare village, and her four children who, as they’ve grown up, have scattered across the globe. Each section is told from a different family member’s perspective as the years go by, and read as a snapshot of a particular time in their life. We see Hanna, the youngest, as a 1980’s schoolgirl; Dan in the New York art scene of the early 90s; Constance dealing with the all-consuming task of raising small children in the late 90s, and Emmet, having a tough time as an aid worker in Mali in 2002. The reader is left to fill in the gaps in between.
When Rosaleen announces her intention to sell the old house in 2005, the Madigans reunite to celebrate a final Christmas in the home where they grew up, the first time they’ve all been together in many years. All the old tensions, unhappiness, love and differences between them lead to an unexpected and dramatic climax.
Anne Enright writes in an exquisite spare style with a wonderful ear for dialogue to create characters I found myself wondering about long after I’d closed the book. A book very deserving of it’s place on this year’s Man Booker Prize longlist. Paperback $33