The Wren, The Wren is a meditation on love: spiritual, romantic, darkly sexual or genetic. A generational saga that traces the inheritance not just of trauma but also of wonder, it is a testament to the glorious resilience of women in the face of promises false and true.

Above all, it is an exploration of the love between mother and daughter – sometimes fierce, often painful, but always transcendent.

A psychologically astute examination of family dynamics and the nature of memory. Enright’s prose is
gorgeous and evocative and scalpel sharp.

Monica Ali

The Wren, The Wren

by Anne Enright

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Describe your book in one sentence as if you were telling a friend.

After many novels, I still find it difficult to summarise my books in a sentence. If I had the sentence, I would not need to write the book..

What inspired you to write your novel?

The novel was started in the first lockdown of 2020 when I was suddenly intensely interested in the natural world and turned for solace to lyrical poetry. It was a tough time, and I was writing a tough-minded character called Carmel, who would not go away, somehow. The book happened between these two poles, the lyrical and the literal, the poetic and pragmatic.

Which part of the book was the most fun to write? Which was the most challenging?

I loved writing the young voice of Nell. She is such a fresh-minded character, and was always fun to do. Her grandfather, the poet Phil, was also easy, I knew him intimately from the get-go; his sense of hurt and of yearning. Carmel, who is the heart of the book, was the most challenging to write; she holds it together and gives very little away.

If you could take one book to a desert island, what would it be and why?

Ulysses by James Joyce, because it is never the same book twice.

Where is your favourite place to write?

In my head, on my screen, on the page.

If you hadn’t been a writer, what would you be doing now? Where would you be?

I can’t imagine.