Actress
Anne Enright

Book cover image

Narrated By: Anne Enright

Duration: 8 hours and 4 minutes

What to expect

Brought to you by Penguin.

From the Booker-winning Irish author, a brilliant and moving novel about fame, sexual power, and a daughter’s search to understand her mother’s hidden truths


This is the story of Irish theatre legend Katherine O’Dell, as told by her daughter Norah. It tells of early stardom in Hollywood, of highs and lows on the stages of Dublin and London’s West End. Katherine’s life is a grand performance, with young Norah watching from the wings.

But this romance between mother and daughter cannot survive Katherine’s past, or the world’s damage. As Norah uncovers her mother’s secrets, she acquires a few of her own. Then, fame turns to infamy when Katherine decides to commit a bizarre crime.

Actress is about a daughter’s search for the truth: the dark secret in the bright star, and what drove Katherine finally mad.

Brilliantly capturing the glamour of post-war America and the shabbiness of 1970s Dublin, Actress is an intensely moving, disturbing novel about mothers and daughters and the men in their lives. A scintillating examination of the corrosive nature of celebrity, it is also a sad and triumphant tale of freedom from bad love, and from the avid gaze of the crowd.

© Anne Enright 2020 (P) Penguin Audio 2020

Genre

Modern & contemporary fiction, Narrative theme: Love & relationships, Family life fiction, Narrative theme: Interior life, Individual actors & performers

Listen to a sample

A perfect jewel of a book, a dark emerald set in the Irish laureate’s fictional tiara, alongside her Man Booker Prize winner The Gathering (2007) and The Green Road (2015). Its brilliance is complex and multifaceted, but completely lucidActress is a deeply humane, often darkly funny novel about the exercise of power over sexually attractive women. The grim subject matter is illuminated by Enright’s acute sensitivity to languageEnright proves, once again, her genius.

Spectator

May I recommend Actress by Anne Enright. Her writing is always pitch perfect, but this is truly exquisite. If there is such a thing as the perfect novel, this is it.

Nigella Lawson

Anne Enright, the unofficial rock star of literary fiction, cements her stardom with Actress.

Irish Times

Actress absolutely enthralled me… [An] immersive, masterful novel.

Red Magazine

In Katherine O’Dell, her fictional fallen star of stage and screen…Enright has created a heroine as irresistible to the reader as to her audiences… She has become a byword for contemporary Irish literary fiction at its finest.