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The Wren, the Wren cover art

The Wren, the Wren

By: Anne Enright
Narrated by: Anne Enright,Aoife Duffin,Owen Roe,Liza Ross
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Summary

Brought to you by Penguin.

Carmel had been alone all her life. She had been alone since she was twelve years old. The baby knew all this. They looked at each other; one life into another life, and the baby knew exactly how alone her mother had been.

Nell - funny, brave and so much loved - is a young woman with adventure on her mind. As she sets out into the world, she finds her family history hard to escape. For her mother, Carmel, Nell's leaving home opens a space in her heart, where the turmoil of a lifetime begins to churn. And across the generations falls the long shadow of Carmel's famous father, an Irish poet of beautiful words and brutal actions.

This 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.

©2023 Anne Enright (P)2023 Penguin Audio

Critic reviews

"The Wren, The Wren is a magnificent novel.' (Sally Rooney, author of Normal People)

"[P]ractically crackle with intelligence, compassion and wit. Phil McDaragh is so real I almost googled him. The Wren, The Wren might just be Anne Enright's best yet.' (Louise Kennedy, author of Trespasses)

'Tender, acutely observed, shocking at times. Enright perfectly captures the experience of a woman in her twenties, thirties, forties and fifties. Women rise throughout The Wren, The Wren, rising above abusive relationships and casual abandonment, sometimes inflicting violence on each other - but still rising into better times. Magnificent.' (Priscilla Morris, author of Black Butterflies)

What listeners say about The Wren, the Wren

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  • Overall
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brilliant book - loved every moment

Lyrical, stunning writing such an authentic voice. The main character read so incredibly well by the author enriched the story telling. A small tale of the impact of a larger than life Dada abandoning a family, and the generational emotional impact/ damage that has on his daughters and grandchild. It is a tale of survival, so far so well covered ground, but the characters are engaging brutally honest, and there are other big themes around power relations between genders, between mother an daughter, environmental damage are woven into the lives of the women. The central poem The Wren, symbolically linked to main character is a small, energetic bird with a very loud but beautiful voice, but represents rebirth and the coming of Spring. This book had a loud and beautiful voice - Read and enjoy!

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2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Brilliant

This book is wonderful. The narration - by several narrators, according to the character that’s speaking - is perfect. Usually I find that narrators often make some mistakes (due to not really feeling into what they are reading) and can be quite dull. But this production is a work of art. And the writing is extraordinary too. I’m even planning to buy a print copy as well, as I know I’ll be returning to this book and wanting to dip in and out.

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1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Tedium

I did not engage with this story. Too much self pitying introspection. No identifiable plot.

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

A mixed book

The older women had interesting stories and had depth of character. The long descriptions of the younger woman’s experience of an increasingly abusive and controlled relationship was harder to digest because it went on for so long. So much introspection and no action. It seemed out of character for Nell. It also didn’t seem to play forward into the rest of the story. Otherwise Well read. An ok book but not stunning.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Engaging, descriptive beautiful work of an Irish family connected by the Poet

I was drawn in to the storytelling. The narration captivating and immersive I felt every emotion of all the characters. The influence of the times, expectations and experience of this Irish family through the eyes and hearts of the women whose lives were impacted by the Poet and his transgressions and lives lived. Beautiful and impactful.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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I feel that the different voices added to a great story

It took me a little while to warm to the story and the characters. Then I did to a degree and would at times become disgruntled again, during the last few hours this happened less and I looked forward to my next listen. Thanks

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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Beautiful , perfect poetic words

I devoured every second of this. Such beautiful writing and excellent reading. Some sentences in this book i truly think will stay with me forever

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Worst narration ever (Nell)

Only finished because had to for book club and had read the guardian review. Only one of our book club didn’t give the thumbs down and that’s because she remembers Enright’s The gathering so fondly

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Poetic

I liked the author as narrator. The other female narrator sounded better on a faster setting. The man was perfect as the poet. I enjoyed the family dynamics

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Stunning language and performance

I loved this book. It’s an insight into the different characters, 3 generations of a family, and how they love each other, but don’t really know each other because we can only really know our own story. But as the reader we get to see how wonderful their inner lives are. Told with beautiful language reflective of the poetry that is the theme tying the book together.
Fantastic performances too, I fell in love with Nell and Carmel and all their thoughts. Recommended!

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