BOOK STEW REVIEW: Actress by Anne Enright

Below is the latest Book Stew Review from Eileen MacDougall, host of the long-running Book Stew, a video and podcast devoted to writing in all forms, authors, playwrights, and even a cat who survived a tornado and wrote a book about it:

Actress by Anne Enright

This novel is the one you might create if you were an excellent writer and you really, really loved your mother. Enright constructs two glorious women of Dublin: Katherine O’Dell, famous Irish (or not) stage and screen actress, best known for being the star of an iconic TV commercial (“Sure, ’tis only butter”), and her daughter, Norah. The story is made up only of two attenuated and intertwined descriptions: Katherine’s looks and mothering, and Norah’s unnamed husband of thirty years, both seen through Norah’s loving eyes. She is also seeking out the identity of her father, and makes some discoveries about the other men in her mother’s life – a therapist/priest, actors, and the producer whom Katherine shoots (literally) in the foot, mostly for denying her the movie role which would have guaranteed her immortality. It’s a book of enchanting words and sentences.

Quote: “Father Des had a kindly air I did not trust for being universally applied. He made me feel like a potted plant. It was always lovely when he was in the room, and yet no one had a good time. He looked like a pocket version of God.”

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