Actress: A Novel

Category: Book
By (author): Enright, Anne
Subject:  FICTION / Contemporary Women
  FICTION / General
  FICTION / Literary
  FICTION / Sagas
Awards: Women's Prize for Fiction (2020) Long-listed
Publisher: McClelland & Stewart
Published: February 2021
Format: Book-paperback
Pages: 272
Size: 7.98in x 5.19in x 0.66in
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Additional Notes

From The Publisher*LONGLISTED FOR THE WOMEN'S PRIZE 2020

Man Booker Prize-winner and bestselling author Anne Enright's latest--a brilliant and moving novel about fame, sexual power, and a daughter's search to understand her mother's hidden truths.


This is the story of Irish theatre legend, Katherine O'Dell, as written by her daughter Norah. It tells of early stardom in Hollywood, of highs and lows on the stages of Dublin and London's West End. Katherine's life is a grand performance, with young Norah watching from the wings.

But this romance between mother and daughter cannot survive Katherine's past, or the world's damage. As Norah uncovers her mother's secrets, she acquires a few of her own. Then, fame turns to infamy when Katherine decides to commit a bizarre crime.

Actress is about a daughter's search for the truth: the dark secret in the bright star, and what drove Katherine finally mad.

Brilliantly capturing the glamour of post-war America and the shabbiness of 1970s Dublin, Actress is an intensely moving, disturbing novel about mothers and daughters and the men in their lives. A scintillating examination of the corrosive nature of celebrity, it is also a sad and triumphant tale of freedom from bad love, and from the avid gaze of the crowd.
Review Quote*One of Time's Must-Read Books of 2020

"Anne Enright writes so well that she just might ruin you for anyone else. . . . Stripped raw of any sentimentality, the result is a critique, a confession, a love letter-and another brilliant novel." -Washington Post

"Gorgeously written fiction. . . . Enright's unflinching portrait . . . is scrupulously developed and painfully moving." -Boston Globe

"A perfect jewel of a book. . . . Its brilliance is complex and multifaceted, but completely lucid . . . Actress is a deeply humane, often darkly funny novel about the exercise of power over sexually attractive women. The grim subject matter is illuminated by Enright's acute sensitivity to language. . . . Enright proves, once again, her genius." -Spectator

"Smart and deep, it's ripe for endless discussion. . . . Actress is arguably [Enright's] great performance." -Globe and Mail

"Enright has created a heroine as irresistible to the reader as to her audiences." -The Guardian

"There is something that seems effortless about Ms. Enright's writing-an illusion, of course, but one brilliantly sustained." -Wall Street Journal

"Written with all the ingenuity and twisty tautness of a thriller . . . [Actress] is a study of love that is all the more uplifting because it is unsparing." -The Times

"Enright's indelible images of the primal love between mother and daughter that ebbs, flows, and ultimately abides will stick with readers." -Booklist (starred review)

"Another triumph for Enright: a confluence of lyrical prose, immediacy, warmth, and emotional insight." -Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
Biographical NoteANNE ENRIGHT won the Man Booker Prize and the Irish Fiction Award for her novel The Gathering, which became a long-time national bestseller in Canada. She has published two books of short stories, collected as Yesterday's Weather, and six novels, including The Forgotten Waltz, which was shortlisted for The Orange Prize and awarded the Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction, and most recently The Green Road, which won the Irish Fiction Award. Anne Enright lives in Dublin.