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Actress: A Novel (Paperback)

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Longlisted for the 2020 Women's Prize for Fiction

One of Time's 100 Must-Read Books of 2020

“A critique, a confession, a love letter—and another brilliant novel from Anne Enright.” —Ron Charles, Washington Post

Katherine O’Dell is an Irish theater legend. Every moment of her life is a performance, with her daughter, Norah, standing in the wings. With age, alcohol, and dimming stardom, however, Katherine’s grip on reality grows fitful. Fueled by a proud and long-simmering rage, she commits a bizarre crime.

As Norah’s role gradually changes to Katherine’s protector, caregiver, and finally legacy-keeper, she revisits her mother’s life of fiercely kept secrets; and Norah confronts in turn the secrets of her own sexual and emotional coming-of-age. With virtuosic storytelling, Actress weaves together two generations of women with difficult sexual histories, touching a raw and timely nerve.

About the Author

Anne Enright is author of seven novels, most recently Actress. She has been awarded the Man Booker Prize, the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction, and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Irish Book Awards. She lives in Dublin.

Praise For…

Intoxicating.… Even while laughing at Enright’s wicked mockery, I was moved by the tenderness of her evocation of difficult love.
— Mary Gordon - New York Times

Gorgeously written fiction.… Enright’s unflinching portrait… is scrupulously developed and painfully moving.
— Wendy Smith - Boston Globe

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

— Sara Resnick - The New Yorker

[A] skillfully crafted, emotionally charged novel from an expert practitioner.… Enright has given us another first-rate performance.
— Malcolm Forbes - National

A perfect jewel of a book, a dark emerald set in the Irish laureate’s fictional tiara, alongside her Man Booker Prize winner The Gathering (2007) and The Green Road (2015). 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.

— Ruth Scurr - Spectator

Out in force. Anne Enright, the unofficial rock star of literary fiction, cements her stardom with Actress.

— Niamh Donnelly - Irish Times

In Katherine O’Dell, her fictional fallen star of stage and screen… Enright has created a heroine as irresistible to the reader as to her audiences.… She has become a byword for contemporary Irish literary fiction at its finest.
— Lisa Allardice - Guardian

Actress absolutely enthralled me.… [An] immersive, masterful novel.

— Anya Meyerowitz - Red magazine

May I recommend Actress by Anne Enright. Her writing is always pitch perfect, but this is truly exquisite. If there is such a thing as the perfect novel, this is it.

— Nigella Lawson

Product Details
ISBN: 9780393541458
ISBN-10: 0393541452
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Publication Date: February 2nd, 2021
Pages: 288
Language: English