Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Green Road” as Want to Read:
The Green Road
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Green Road

3.51  ·  Rating details ·  13,008 ratings  ·  1,621 reviews
From internationally acclaimed author Anne Enright comes a shattering novel set in a small town on Ireland's Atlantic coast. The Green Road is a tale of family and fracture, compassion and selfishness—a book about the gaps in the human heart and how we strive to fill them.

Spanning thirty years, The Green Road tells the story of Rosaleen, matriarch of the Madigans, a family
Paperback, 336 pages
Published May 3rd 2016 by W. W. Norton Company (first published May 4th 2015)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.51  · 
Rating details
 ·  13,008 ratings  ·  1,621 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Green Road
Julie Christine
Each time a new novel set in the European theatre of WWII emerges, the chorus of “Do we need another WWII novel? Haven’t all the stories already been told?” follows. And then we go on to devour the likes of The Narrow Road to the Deep North and All The Light We Cannot See. Good story is good story. If the setting or theme seems tired to you, move along, please.

So, too, could we lament the novel of the dysfunctional Irish family. From James Joyce to Edna O’Brien, Colm Tóibín to John Banville, we
Diane S ☔
Oct 31, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
From the beginning I was fascinated with the character of Rosaleen, this family matriarch of four, living in an unnamed village in County Clare. When her eldest son Doug tells the family he is going to be a priest, she takes to her bed for days. Two boys, two girls and we follow this family throughout three decades. As with all siblings they take many different paths,live in different countries, and we hear from each of them.

As for Rosaleen she waits, using passive aggressive techniques to make
Jul 29, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
This book just felt like a lot of people complaining about their mediocre lives. The structure really bogged down the narrative and kept me at a distance from the characters. The first 5 chapters are all told from different perspectives--a mother and her 4 children--and then after that it alternates between all of them as they reunite one Christmas when the mother decides she is selling the old family home.

Nothing stands out to me about this story; it's all quite forgettable unfortunately. That'
Jan 26, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: published-2016
My overriding impression here was that the quality of the writing deserved a much better novel. It certainly deserved more engaging characters. The Green Road is about a dysfunctional Irish family with chapters alternating between the five members. Often this form of structure causes problems because some characters are almost always much more interesting than others and this is very much the case here. The two daughters I found especially lacking in compelling detail.

It begins with Hanna and t
Ron Charles
Mar 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015-favorites
In the opening scene of Anne Enright’s new novel, the eldest son announces he’s going into the priesthood, and his Irish mother lets out a series of anguished cries and flees to her bedroom. “This was not the first time their mother took to the horizontal solution,” Enright writes, “but it was the longest.”

Welcome to the Madigan family of County Clare: four children, all contending in various ways with the emotional tyranny of their never-satisfied mother, Rosaleen.

From its gloomy dust jacket, y
Anne Enright's, The Green Road, nominated for the Booker Award in 2015 and the Bailey's Prize in 2016, is a wonderful experience of family life in County Clare, Ireland. Matriarch, Rosaleen Madigan, has four children who all leave home to pursue life elsewhere. It's fascinating how Enright sets up the first part of her book with each of the first chapters set in a different location, time, and with one child and their life struggles. She starts with Hanna, a new mother and drinker, Dan, who live ...more
Angela M

I was hoping that I would love this book more than I did . I loved Enright's The Gathering but this one fell a little short for me . I just didn't like these characters very much , who didn't seem to like themselves very much either. I've read discussions about how a book can be a great book even without likable characters and that's probably true. My preference is that I like the characters. Having said that , I wanted to keep reading about this dysfunctional family to see how they would manage
Feb 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Sue by: Constant Reader
The Green Road has jumped to the top of my favorites of 2016 and Anne Enright has so impressed me with her ability to capture the essence of the family Madigan and it's diaspora away from the homestead and Ma, Mammy, Rosaleen,...then the return. Rosaleen's mothering has not been a happy presence for the family and has been mixed for Rosaleen herself. Enright allows her to strip herself bare.

The story is told over the span of some 25 years, from the point of view of each child: Hanna, the younges
Sep 14, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Halfway through this book I was about to give up. Found all the siblings selfish and uninteresting. Wasn't sure about the mother. But then about halfway through they return to County Clare for Christmas and it all sort of fell together.

I grew up literally a stone's throw from where this book was set. Left there over 26 years ago and doubt I could ever go back and live there again. Nice to visit for 3 days maybe but, no more.

Made me a bit nostalgic in a way. Then again, I haven't been in Ireland
Ravi Gangwani
This book was like chemical reaction on me. Last year 2014, I personally met Anne Enright (2007 Booker winner), I touched her feet in due respect. After reading this book I felt, I was right to do that. So here a review of another Booker long-list book :

"The dead have voices in our dreams, but no density. It's just huge sense of themness, it is all meaning and no words. Because words are also physical, don't you think? The way they touch you."

"The darkness of the theater, for Hanna, was a new k
Feb 20, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I owe Anne Enright a review after failing to go to bat for her in the apparently universally-loathed The Gathering. Well, listen up. Anne Enright is one of the best living writers of contemporary fiction today, and that holds true even though neither of her novels I've read have warranted a five-star rating. In this one, Enright writes about family and fellowship and the invisible bonds that keep us coming back home. Her prose is so honest, tight as a ball of yarn (that is to say, tight until yo ...more
The title is the first signal that this will not be some cozy domestic novel full of petty family squabbles. Instead, that road through the Burren in County Clare takes center stage – a symbolic road to redemption and the home you can never reclaim but never stop looking for. The novel is divided into two roughly equal parts, ‘Leaving’ and ‘Coming Home’. In the first half the four Madigan children disperse across the world. Enright puckishly avoids giving a straightforward chronological rundown ...more
Dec 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book hit very close to home to me. I, too, have four kids and struggle to keep the adult relationship with them going just like the Madigan family. It really doesn't matter if it's Ireland or the USA, families struggle with getting along. They are bound by shared experiences and memories but grow into such different people.

The book deals with Rosaleen's (the mother) unhappiness. She has married beneath her. Her children have not done as well as she expected. Her house is too big for her t
Peter Boyle
I agree with Belinda McKeon's excellent review - The Green Road might just be the most Irish novel I've ever read. The scatter of emigration, the shadow of the Church, the hollow greed of the property boom, the prevalent drinking culture - so many aspects of life in the Emerald Isle are unerringly depicted in these unsentimental and insightful pages.

Set in a rural part of west Clare over the best part of 25 years, the story describes the fortunes of the Madigan clan. For the first half of the no
Maria Hill AKA MH Books
Anne Enright knows a lot about typical Irish Families and families in general. It’s food for thought, how we all grow up together but when adult we really know so very little about our siblings’, parents’ and childrens’ inner lives. In the case of the Madigans they know absolutely nothing about each other until they forced to pull together one fateful Christmas in 2005.

To be honest at first I did not like this book. The first chapter left me somewhat underwhelmed, I care little for Irish rural
Mar 01, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
Anne Enright writes very very well. There's no putting her books aside because they are bogging down or because the situations don't intrigue you. I read through, quickly and appreciatively, liking the deft hand that gives you by turns rural Ireland, the early 90s East Village of my youth, and an expat aid worker's cobbled together home in Mali with equal assurance and authority, allowing you to believe as easily in what you don't know (Ireland, Mali) as in what you do (the AIDS era in New York) ...more
Helene Jeppesen
This book was okay but not brilliant. What I loved the most about it was how Anne Enright structured the story of a family of four kids. We get to hear from everyone's perspectives at different stages of their lives, and it all culminates in a gathering in their mother's home in Ireland.
I found the characters to be somewhat interesting, but not infatuating. There was just something about this novel that created a distance between it and me, which was quite disappointing since it was shortlisted
Laura Anne
I read through the part where the chicken is killed, plucked, boiled and eaten and passed to our man - priest in New York - is it? And felt - no! My nerves can not take another gritty, hard; life-sucks-you-in-and-spits-you-out book from Enright. I've read The Forgotten Waltz, and The Gathering - was it a Booker winner? Anyway, enough of that!

Tee hee - I mean I passed on to the section about our man in the New Country - not the chicken. There's the importance of grammar for youse.
Canadian Reader
May 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Canadian Reader by: Peter Boyle
Several days after completing this intense novel about the mostly unhappy members of the Madigan family--matriarch Rosaleen; her sons, Dan and Emmet; and daughters, Constance and Hanna--I find myself puzzling over them. Except for Constance, who has married well, and is clearly loved by husband and children, they are all so sad and disconnected. I find myself wondering what famed pediatrician and psychoanalyst D.W. Winnicott would have made of the beautiful but brittle Rosaleen Considine, who ma ...more
I "reread" this book this month to prepare for a book club. A great review by Savidge Reads inspired me. It does well on a second reading and I probably appreciate it more the second go round.

This novel is a departure from The Gathering which was more literary and less of a story. The Green Road is the story of a family from County Clare. Based on the mention of nearby places - Cliffs of Moher, The Flaggy Shore (setting of one of my favorite Heaney poems 'Postscript'), and views of the Aran Isla
Jenny (Reading Envy)
I received a copy of this from the publisher through Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

I liked this book, but not nearly as much as I loved The Forgotten Waltz. That book I loved because of the relationship making up the core of the story. In The Green Road, the relationships between family members are my least favorite parts, but they make up the majority of the novel.

A woman in Ireland has four children. The first part tells some of their stories as children and young adults, and the
Stef Smulders
Feb 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: five-stars
Excellent storytelling, each chapter from the viewpoint of a different character, but all very convincing and interesting. First the poetic and loving viewpoint of Hanna as a twelve year old, then the New York gay scene with Dan, followed by Constance hospital visit and after that Emmet’s life in Africa as a health aid worker. Their mother Rosalee also has her own chapter, muddling around in her old house. The mood alternates from poetic to moving, funny, sad, comical and back again. Constances ...more
Gumble's Yard - Golden Reviewer
A good but not excellent book – great at picking out family tensions, and interesting for how we see a detailed snapshot of each character but have to peace together their development until 2005 (particularly for the bitter, alcoholic Hanna) but one where the overall narrative does not really hang together.
Emma Flanagan
May 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There is absolutely no such thing as a normal family. Everyone's family is a bit crazy though some are crazier than others. The Madigan's are one of those special kinds of Irish crazy though I'm sure there's families like them everywhere. The self centred mother, the long suffering eldest daughter trying to take care of everyone, the sons who have fecked off, and the rather dramatic somewhat spoilt youngest child. But they are also the kind of family that when the chips are down will appear over ...more
Nov 10, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Green Road is an epic, sprawling family legacy that spans thirty years and three continents. It follows the Madigan family, Rosaleen and her 4 children, as they navigate life in Ireland, New York and West Africa. The eldest son, Dan, makes an announcement that forever changes the family and sends Rosaleen to her bed. In the years that follow we see how all the Madigan children grow up. We see the mistakes they make and we see what ultimately draws them together and makes them a family. This ...more
Aug 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This novel is similar to Anne Enright's other novel "The Gathering" in a lot of ways. It's also about an Irish family and, at the end, a gathering around the matriarch of the family.

It's also, supposedly, bleak, but I think my tolerance level for bleak and depressing is just very high (and very low for fluff). What this novel is not: exciting. What it is: very well-written. What this story doesnt have: an engaging story. What it does have: great character studies.

I mean, just read this blurb "
Rounding up to 3.5.

This was a hard one for me to swallow, or I should say finish. It started out so well, but I think not finding the time to read in the last couple of weeks led to my feelings of "get me out of this woman's house!" Mam wants to sell the family home, her four children living in different parts of the world converge for their final Christmas. I didn't care for Mam nor any of her children. As is the case with most family novels, each child falls into the stereotypical familial rol
This is not a book you read for the plot, because there isn’t much plot. This is a book that you read for the characters and the beauty of the language. If you can’t hear the lilt of the Irish accent when you read these words, you aren’t paying attention.

One of the blurbs on the cover compares Enright to Alice Munro, and I would have to second that impression. The Green Road is all about family relationships—Rosaleen and her four children and their success or lack thereof. It’s true that when y
A story of family. A story of place.

Children flung far and wide from their home in Ireland, from each other, from the expectations they had of themselves. Said children, now adults, called to their ancestral home by their Ma, Mam, Mammy for Christmas. Every one of the bunch throbbing with longing sitting just beneath their skin. A longing that began at each ones beginning.

Another testimony to "life is curly", not lived in a straight line. I did not want this book to end. The book ended, but the
I have read several of Anne Enright's books, and this might just be her best yet. At its heart is Rosaleen, an elderly widow who has alienated each of her four children in different ways and lives alone in the family home in Clare on the west coast of Ireland. I have to admit that the early parts of the book were less than compulsive, as Enright devotes an extended chapter to each of the four children at different stages of their lives to develop the characters, but once the family comes togethe ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Nora Webster
  • Shuggie Bain
  • The Friend Who Got Away: Twenty Women's True Life Tales of Friendships that Blew Up, Burned Out or Faded Away
  • Girl, Woman, Other
  • The Blackwater Lightship
  • Hamnet
  • Household Words
  • Melting Moments
  • Apeirogon
  • That Old Country Music
  • The Rising of the Moon
  • Exciting Times
  • Mannen under trappan
  • Strange Flowers
  • Redhead by the Side of the Road
  • The Spinning Heart
  • A Girl Is a Half-formed Thing
  • Snow (St. John Strafford, #1)
See similar books…
See top shelves…
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 The Forgotten Waltz won the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction.

News & Interviews

  Here at Goodreads, we've noticed that a funny thing tends to happen when we start talking about audiobooks: The same few titles get...
4 likes · 1 comments
“I am sorry. I can not invite you home for Christmas because I am Irish and my family is mad” 13 likes
“Because that is what your babies do, when they grow. They turn around and say it is all your fault.” 9 likes
More quotes…