Thursday, October 18, 2007

Anne Enright

I don't have any opinion on Enright's winning of the Booker Prize as I've never read her fiction. I vaguely remember she wrote some book about her adventures having children so I (unfairly perhaps) consigned her to the biddy lit category of Irish writing. However, if you were to judge her by her recent contribution to the London Review of Books (4th October 2007 you'd not be handing her any awards. In passing I smiled at John Banville's reaction to her award - he was happy to see the bookies get it wrong again. Not a ringing endorsement then.

Her LRB piece was an extraordinarily badly judged article on the Madeline McCann case. Its gruesome sub-tabloid speculation seemed more appropriate to a rag like the Sunday Independent than the august pages of the LRB. Enright regaled us with her family's (nice cosy consensus eh) growing belief that the parents had murdered Madeline. This belief seemed to be based on the most spurious speculation about child sedation. There were also suggestions of wife-swapping and excessive drinking. In addition she took the husband to task for the polished corporate speak he used in his dealings with the press. As if she had any idea of the suffering of a parents in these circumstances and the mechanisms they use to deal with this pain. She also threw in, en passant, a wildly inappropriate joke about the serial killer Harold Shipman. All in all an appalling and meretricious piece. For shame Anne.

Thinking more about the piece it reads like she dashed it off while on holiday somewhere - maybe after a bottle of wine or two.