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  1. Book ImageThe Green Road: A Novel

    Anne Enright

    “With language so vibrant it practically has a pulse, Enright makes an exquisitely drawn case for the possibility of growth, love and transformation at any age.” —People

Watch: Anne Enright Discusses The Green Road

Discussion Questions

  1. All of the children move out of Rosaleen’s orbit and establish their own lives elsewhere. How does their homecoming affect them?
  2. Rosaleen writes distinct Christmas cards to each of her children. What does her card to each child tell you about their relationship? What do the cards tell you about her?
  3. After Dan announces his decision to become a priest, Rosaleen says, “I made him. I made him the way he is. And I don’t like the way he is. He is my son and I don’t like him, and he doesn’t like me either” (page 34). What role does dislike play in her relationship with Dan?
  4. Enright writes, “Emmet . . . was drawn to suffering—it was, after all, his job” (page 106). Is his interest in suffering heroic or self-absorbed?
  5. Dan, Hanna, Constance, and Emmet all have aspects of their private lives that they do not share with one another. What do they hide from one another, and why?
  6. Emmet is described as not having “the helplessness in him that love required” (page 249). From Dan during the AIDS crisis in New York to Rosaleen on the green road, how are helplessness and love portrayed as related in the novel?
  7. Toward the end of the novel, Enright describes Rosaleen on the green road: “there were gaps between things, and this frightened her. This is where Rosaleen was now. She had fallen into the gap” (page 266). What does this “gap” mean for Rosaleen and her relationship with the green road?
  8. Pat Madigan is largely absent throughout the narrative. How does his absence shape the novel?
  9. When the children return home, they come back to a country that looks quite different than the Ireland they grew up in. How has it changed?
  10. Anne Enright has said that a major theme of The Green Road is compassion. How do members of the Madigan family show compassion to one another?
  11. Of Rosaleen, Enright writes, “her life was one of great harmlessness” (page 149). Do you agree?
  12. The house in County Clare is the most prominent home in the novel. How have Rosaleen’s children chased, established, or resisted establishing their own homes?

Listen: Anne Enright on the Books & Authors podcast

About Anne Enright

Anne Enright was born in Dublin, where she now lives and works. She has published three volumes of stories, one book of nonfiction, and five novels. In 2015, she was named the inaugural Laureate for Irish Fiction. Her novel The Gathering won the Man Booker Prize, and her last novel, The Forgotten Waltz, won the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction.

Books by Anne Enright

  1. Book CoverThe Forgotten Waltz: A Novel

    2012 Winner of the Andrew Carnegie Award for Excellence in Literature

    "This stunning novel by a Booker Prize winner . . . Offers up its brilliance by way of astonishingly effective storytelling."—Booklist, starred reviewMore

  2. Book CoverThe Green Road: A Novel

    “With language so vibrant it practically has a pulse, Enright makes an exquisitely drawn case for the possibility of growth, love and transformation at any age.” —PeopleMore

  3. Book CoverMaking Babies: Stumbling into Motherhood

    “One of the best books ever on the experience of being a mother.”—Boston Sunday GlobeMore