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Anne Enright: Beckett in a Field, 23 September 2021

... were doing, there.’ But the man is a local and he really does.On the ferry home, the producer Anne Clarke says that Medicine, the show she is working on, opened in Galway last night and the rules on audience numbers changed at the last minute so they had two hundred in the hall – nearly half its capacity – with free seating. She watched people file in ...


Anne Enright: Bombings in Baghdad, 10 June 1999

... The night they bombed Baghdad – the first time – I was out at the TV station where I was working. I saw it in hospitality, on the big screen. The room was full of people drinking; people from the show, and also, because they were bombing Baghdad, other people from around the building. They just drifted in. There were no rules to hospitality, but on a normal night these people would not have come in for a beer at the end of the day ...

At Turner Contemporary

Anne Enright: Dorothy Cross, Connemara , 19 December 2013

... When the queen came to Ireland in May 2011 a number of the great, good and merely deserving were locked in the 1937 reading room of Trinity College Dublin for two hours without their mobile phones, before being allowed into the beautiful Long Room of the Old Library to await her arrival. The ratio of men to women was about the same as you find at the front of the plane – five to one perhaps, of suit to skirt – and the conversation veered towards the kind of disaster that happens when Wives Are Not Invited ...


Anne Enright: Listen to Heloïse, 10 May 2007

... Last year, when she was five, my daughter announced that she was going to become a Muslim. ‘It’s an awful lot of washing,’ I said. ‘Don’t worry, I am able to reach the sink with my feet.’ She went up to her room and stuck six sheets of paper together to make a prayer mat. It was time, I decided, to send her to Catholic Instruction. This is an after-school class that, besides fulfilling her tribal spiritual needs, provides a solid half-hour of free childcare, every Monday ...


Anne Enright: Spring Blossom, 10 August 2023

... In​ the first Covid lockdown of spring 2020, people in Ireland were confined to a two kilometre radius from home. Exemptions were made for carers and, if I went to see my elderly mother in the middle of the afternoon, the roads were empty of traffic and the suburban paths near her house filled with people walking to the edge of their allocated space and then back home ...


Anne Enright: Priests in the Family, 18 November 2021

... When​ my grandfather died of a heart attack in 1927, he was the father of three young children and did not know that a fourth child, my mother, was on the way. This strangeness – the growth of a baby after the death of its parent – was both tragic and miraculous. It made my mother feel odd about her existence, I think, which is not the same as feeling odd about herself ...


Anne Enright: A Writer’s Life, 28 May 2009

... In 2008 I spent, on a rough count, 64 nights away from my family. Seven of those nights were spent on airplanes, the rest were spent in 30 or so different hotels. I know my fluffy towels from my scratchy, I have learned that much. In fact, I have learned little else. And this perhaps needs to be said: the amazing thing about hotels is that nothing happens in them ...

Sinking by Inches

Anne Enright: Ireland’s Recession, 7 January 2010

... Last year, the Society of St Vincent de Paul spent €6.1 million giving people in Ireland food. This year, it says that requests for food are up 50 per cent, that calls in general are up 35 per cent and in Dublin 50 per cent, and that 25 per cent of callers are new clients, many of whom were contributors to the charity at the church gates last year ...


Anne Enright: Disliking the McCanns, 4 October 2007

... It is very difficult to kill a child by giving it sedatives, even if killing it is what you might want to do. I asked a doctor about this, one who is also a mother. It was a casual, not a professional conversation, but like every other parent in the Western world, she had thought the whole business through. She said that most of the sedatives used on children are over-the-counter antihistamines, like the travel sickness pills that knocked me and my daughter out on an overnight ferry to France recently ...


Anne Enright: Looking at the Wallpaper, 2 January 1997

... Sitting in France writing about death and wallpaper, it is no surprise to find my walls orange: ‘that most morbid and irritating of colours’, as Huysmans described it, ‘with its acid glow and unnatural splendour’. The word ‘orange’ was a late addition to the language, before it we just had gold or ochre, and, like the colour, it throws up questions about the precious and the fake, the difference between what is natural and what is recent ...


Anne Enright: Boys’ Aliens and Girls’ Aliens, 21 September 1995

... In Ireland we don’t need aliens; we already have a race of higher beings with strange powers who gaze deep into our eyes and force us to have babies against our will. We call them priests. A loopy Protestant, on the other hand, has to make it up as she goes along. And no one makes it up better than your American Protestant, driven mad by all that sky ...


Anne Enright: My Milk, 5 October 2000

... The milk surprises me. It does not disgust me as much as I thought it would, unless it is not fresh. It is disturbing that a piece of you should go off so quickly. I don’t think Freud ever discussed lactation, but the distinction between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ bodily products here is very fine. Women leak so much. Perhaps this is why we clean – which is to say that a man who cleans is always ‘anal’, a woman who cleans is just a woman ...

Green Hearts

Anne Enright, 3 August 1995

Meanwhile Back at the Ranch: The Politics of Irish Beef 
by Fintan O’Toole.
Vintage, 292 pp., £6.99, January 1995, 0 09 951451 6
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... I bumped into my brother in the street and we talked about Fintan O’Toole’s book on the beef tribunal. I told him to read it immediately. I myself had stopped both reading about the beef tribunal and eating beef in 1991, after a two-line thing in the Irish Times about cirrhotic calves’ livers being packed by someone, somewhere in Ireland. My brother is a civil servant ...

On the Sands

Anne Enright: At Sandymount Strand, 26 May 2022

... Make room in the bed,’ says Buck Mulligan to a man in the sea, when he is getting in for his swim at the end of the first episode of Ulysses. I have read the line many times without a second thought, but recently it drew me up short, because I had not heard the phrase for some years. ‘Move up in the bed’ was something my father liked to say ...

Mortal, can these bones live?

Anne Enright: Marilynne Robinson’s Perfect Paradox, 22 October 2020

by Marilynne Robinson.
Virago, 309 pp., £18.99, September 2020, 978 0 349 01181 3
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... In​ the fourth novel in Marilynne Robinson’s Gilead sequence, the eponymous Jack spends a long night alone with his thoughts. ‘After a while,’ he observes, ‘light will reveal itself in a very dark room, not quite as a mist, as something more particulate, as if the slightest breath had lifted the finest dust into the stillest air.’ This recalls Milton’s ‘darkness visible’, but it is not a description of hell so much as of the way things can contain their opposite ...

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