In Anne Enright’s potent eighth novel, 23-year-old freelance writer Nell McDaragh is inspired by the grandfather she never knew, a famous Irish poet named Phil. Nell’s mother Carmel has complicated feelings about her father—Phil left her family when she was growing up, just as her mother was sick with cancer. The Wren, the Wren flips between the three generations, revealing how Phil’s absence and life’s work impacted Carmel and Nell. Both mother and daughter reckon with their connection to a man whose celebrated public image stood in direct contrast to his messy private life. Enright, a master of family narratives, creates a powerful and disquieting meditation on the relationship between parents and their children. —Annabel Gutterman
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