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Actress

by Anne Enright

Family Drama Literary Fiction

LoveReading View on Actress

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. With virtuosic storytelling and in prose at turns lyrical and knife-sharp, Enright takes readers to the heart of the maddening yet tender love that binds a mother and daughter.

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Actress Synopsis

Longlisted for the 2020 Women's Prize for Fiction : One of Time's 100 Must-Read Books of 2020

Katherine O'Dell is an Irish theater legend. As her daughter, Norah, retraces her mother's celebrated career and bohemian life, she delves into long-kept secrets, both her mother's and her own. Katherine began her career on Ireland's bus-and-truck circuit before making it to London's West End, Broadway, and finally Hollywood.

Every moment of her life is a performance, with young Norah standing in the wings. But the mother-daughter romance cannot survive Katherine's past or the world's damage. With age, alcohol, and dimming stardom, 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 reveals in turn the secrets of her own sexual and emotional coming-of-age story.

Her narrative is shaped by three braided searches-for her father's identity; for her mother's motive in donning a Chanel suit one morning and shooting a TV producer in the foot; and her own search for a husband, family, and work she loves.

Win the 2021 Women's Prize for Fiction Shortlist!

Win the 2021 Women's Prize for Fiction Shortlist!

Closing date: 30/05/2021

The Women's Prize for Fiction is one of the most prestigious literary awards in the world. To celebrate their announcement of the 2021 Shortlist, we are offering one lucky person the opportunity to win the entire shortlist! You can find out everything you need to know about the prize here: www.womensprizeforfiction.co.uk. You can also be among the first to hear the latest Women’s Prize news by subscribing to their newsletter. You can sign up by clicking the link here: womensprizeforfiction.co.uk/#newsletter The LoveReading team have read and love a number of the books on this year's shortlist. Our Reviews Editor, Liz Robinson thinks Unsettled Ground by Claire Fuller is an "emotionally intelligent and beautiful novel". Expert Reviewer Joanne Owen feels that Yaa Gyasi's Transcendent Kingdom is an "eloquent, incisive novel seeps into the soul", that The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennet is "a compelling, compassionate, consummately outstanding novel" and Cherie Jones is "a writer to watch" after reading How The One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House. We’re thrilled to be a part of the announcement of the 2021 Women’s Prize for Fiction Shortlist. Join the conversation with the #WomensPrize on social media and let us know which books you’re looking forward to reading. This draw is open only for UK residents currently in the UK and is free to enter, multiple entries from the same email address will only be counted once. The draw closes on 30th May 2021. Please ensure that the details you use to enter the competition will be correct at the time the competition ends. The winners will be notified as soon as possible.

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Actress Press Reviews

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)

Intoxicating.  -- Mary Gordon - New York Times

Captivating.  -- Sara Resnick - The New Yorker

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

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

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 from Anne Enright.  -- Ron Charles - Washington Post

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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9781324005629
Publication date: 18/02/2021
Publisher: WW Norton & Co
Format: Hardback

Book Information

ISBN: 9781324005629
Publication date: 18th February 2021
Author: Anne Enright
Publisher: WW Norton & Co
Format: Hardback
Pagination: 272 pages
Genres: Family Drama, Literary Fiction,
Categories: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945),

About Anne Enright

Anne Enright was born in Dublin and now lives and works in County Wicklow. She is the author of a collection of stories, The Portable Virgin, which won the Rooney Prize, and three novels, The Wig My Father Wore, What Are You Like? which was shortlisted for the Whitbread Novel Award and won the Encore Award, and The Pleasure of Eliza Lynch.

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