'A luscious read' Independent
Anne Enright was born in Dublin, where she now lives and works. She has written two collections of stories, published together as Yesterday's Weather, one book of non-fiction, Making Babies, and six novels, including The Gathering, which won the 2007 Man Booker Prize, The Forgotten Waltz, which was awarded the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction, and The Green Road, which was the Bord Gais Energy Novel of the Year and won the Kerry Group Irish Fiction Award. In 2015 she was appointed as the first Laureate for Irish Fiction, and in 2018 she received the Irish PEN Award for Outstanding Contribution to Irish Literature.
More strange than stimulating, more grim than redeeming, this surrealistic historical novel by the Irish-born Enright (The Wig My Father Wore) will entertain only the most determined and forgiving readers. The story loosely re-creates the life of Eliza Lynch, an Irish prostitute who escaped social disgrace by attaching herself to Francisco Solano Lopez, future dictator of Paraguay, and traveling with him to his homeland as his paramour. Once there, Eliza sets herself up in a rich style that serves to separate her further from the country's impoverished and war-torn people. Eventually, conflict shatters Solano Lopez's plans for a totalitarian state made great by a railroad, and he is forced to flee with his army and an entourage that includes Eliza in her all-black carriage. Readers will be disorientated by the stream-of-consciousness narrative and the disjointed structure, which alternates time frame and point of view. Add to these drawbacks the author's penchant for overripe images of gluttony, putrefaction (e.g., the physical effects of gonorrhea, cholera, and typhus), and the baser traits of humanity, and the result is a nightmarish mix of Gabriel Garcia Marquez's Love in the Time of Cholera, Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness, and William Faulkner's works. Only larger collections of experimental literary fiction should consider. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 11/15/02.]-Jennifer Baker, Seattle P.L. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
She writes like a shrewd Irish Marquez * Observer *
Enright [has a] white-knuckle grip on language... A dazzling circus of words * Guardian *
The Pleasure of Eliza Lynch is as sensuous and polished as an ornate painting * Daily Telegraph *
Wonderfully written...a fascinating episode...which never loses its momentum or its sharpness of focus * The Times *
Richness, texture, irony and razzle-dazzle are underpinned by a probing irony and a finely tuned historical sense... The Pleasure of Eliza Lynch is a star turn: what on earth will she do next? * Financial Times *