Anne Enright. THE GREEN ROAD. Norton, 2015
Margaret Laurence would have loved this book, as do I. In another country, Ireland, and another century, another matriarch, as difficult as Hagar Shipley in The STONE ANGEL, does a runner, in this case on Christmas Day. Before this happens, we meet, in separate chapters set in separate places and times, her now-adult children: Hanna, the new mother and actor with a drinking problem. Dan, the failed priest who escaped to New York to find himself just as AIDS arrived on the scene. Constance, at a mammography screening, thinking about her teenage children, her successful builder husband, her fancy car, and refusing to think about her mother. Emmet, who seems comfortable with non-gender specific fantasies, and works for low pay saving starving people in Africa. And the mother herself, Rosaleen, hyper-critical, manipulative, deciding without input to "sell the house" and move in with whichever adult child she chooses. The characters are beautifully sketched from the inside. Almost as beautifully is the west-Ireland landscape from Limerick to Ennis along the Flaggy Way and the green road itself, unpaved, along the coast. With views of Galway and Connemara. I enjoyed this story more than I did Enright's Booker award winner, The GATHERING.