Do you read Anne Enright? She’s genius. It’s time for me to shut up, because she’s speaking.
More seriously, she wanted the novel “to reclaim ideas of agency in desire”, something she has been doing throughout her fiction, along with other female Irish writers from Edna O’Brien to Rooney. “To push back against the idea that sex is a terrible thing, horrible and rapine and always somehow disappointing and wrong. It’s an idea from the misogynistic patriarchy that returns and returns in more modern iterations. A lot of bad things happen to women in books. Really a lot.”
Having written about adultery in The Forgotten Waltz, she also wanted this novel “to be a conversation about marriage”, to make a monogamous long-term relationship interesting. “The truth of my life has been that I must now announce myself to myself as having been happily married, whatever that is,” Enright says. “Why does no one write that?” She is at her merciless best on the daily intimacies and irritations of married life. “I liked the shifting sense of difficulty and accommodation and attachment. And that inescapability of it all,” she explains. “There’s an amount that is written about love and sex that seems to me somehow partial. So I wanted to give a more complete picture.”