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About the book
  • Published: 1 May 2012
  • ISBN: 9780099539780
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 240
  • RRP: $27.99

The Forgotten Waltz

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Enright's first novel since her Man Booker Prize-winning book The Gathering.
The Forgotten Waltz is a book of secrets and longing, bliss and loss.

The Forgotten Waltz is a memory of desire: a recollection of the bewildering speed of attraction, the irreparable slip into longing. In Terenure, a pleasant suburb of Dublin, in the winter of 2009, it has snowed. Gina Moynihan, girl about town, recalls the trail of lust and happenstance that brought her to fall for ‘the love of her life’, Seán Vallely. As the city outside comes to a halt, Gina remembers the days of their affair in one hotel room or another: long afternoons made blank by bliss and denial. Now, as the silent streets and the stillness and vertigo of the falling snow make the day luminous and full of possibility, Gina waits the arrival on her doorstep of Seán’s fragile, twelve-year-old daughter, Evie – the complication, and gravity, of this second life.

In this extraordinary novel, this opening book of secrets, Anne Enright speaks directly to the readers she won with the success of The Gathering. Here, again, is the sudden, momentous drama of everyday life, the volatile connections between people; that fresh eye for each flinch and gesture; the wry, accurate take on families, marriage, brittle middle age. The same verve and humour and breathtaking control are evident; the ability to merge the ordinary and the beautiful. With The Forgotten Waltz Enright turns her attention fully to love – you might even call it romance – as she follows another flawed and unforgettable heroine on a journey of the heart. Writing at the height of her powers, this is Anne Enright’s tour de force, a novel of intelligence, passion and real distinction.

  • Pub date: 1 May 2012
  • ISBN: 9780099539780
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 240
  • RRP: $27.99

About the Author

Anne Enright

Anne Enright was born in Dublin, where she now lives and works. She has written two collections of stories, published together as Yesterday’s Weather, one book of non-fiction, Making Babies, and six novels, including The Gathering, which won the 2007 Man Booker Prize, The Forgotten Waltz, which was awarded the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction, and The Green Road, which was the Bord Gáis Energy Novel of the Year and won the Kerry Group Irish Fiction Award. In 2015 she was appointed as the first Laureate for Irish Fiction, and in 2018 she received the Irish PEN Award for Outstanding Contribution to Irish Literature.

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Praise for The Forgotten Waltz

“An achingly brilliant piece of writing on passion and delusion. Comparisons to Madame Bovary are not overblown, not because it is a wry, clever, philosophical take on adultery - although it is - but because it makes you re-evaluate everything a novel can be... This book is enough to restore your faith in the power of fiction”

Viv Groskop, Independent

“An important novel... It is a rare thing: the literary page turner... An acutely tender depiction of the complex familial bonds joining us, a delicate portrait of love, loss and hope, from a formidably talented writer”

Claire Kilroy, Financial Times

“A love story for our times... In a single sentence [Enright] conjures up that violent pendulum swing of emotion that can blow whole worlds apart... This is the great pleasure of reading Enright: her sheer virtuoso control of language, those compact sentences, with their occasional flares of lyrical beauty and emotional force”

Irish Times

“A luminous novel... Haunting, dreamy, sexy and with flashes of salty wit this is one of those novels that you are sorry to see end. It is very much an Irish novel and much of its time but the anatomy of desire and passion are timeless”

Jennifer Selway, Daily Express

“The real pleasure of the book is the dancing, delicious prose”

Evening Standard

“Enright holds you in a story-telling spell. Mesmerising”


“Absolute genius”

Linda Grant, BBC Radio 4

“A brave and unusual variation on a familiar theme... She modulates so finely between comedy and pathos, between psychology and physicality, that she conveys a sense of the richness of lived experience... Anne Enright has taken a great risk in writing this book, but she has brought it off superbly”

Edmund Gordon, Daily Telegraph

“Devastatingly good”

Marie Claire

“Forces us to look in the mirror... It is a discomfiting public examination of conscience, an exposé of our national shortcomings so recently in the limelight”

Irish Independent

“That's the Anne Enright voice all right - wry, disabused, reckless, candid, funny”

Hermione Lee, Guardian

“[Enright's] amazing ability to engage in lyric flights while keeping her feet on the ground, her way of returing to certain intimate details and of making jumpy little jokes, her habit of using colloquial phrasing to moor Grand Statements, and her rushing, exquisitely turned perceptions”

Leo Robson, New Statesman

“Where the novel compels is in the attendant disquisitions on memory and its rearrangements, both willed and unwilled; the blurring of boundaries, physical and temporal; the vivid presentation of all characters, major and minor...funny and forgiving”

Elspeth Barker, Literary Review

“The book...succeeds admirably, because Enright's characters are indeed so ordinary and fallible; they could quite easily be us”

Ross Gilfillan, Daily Mail

“This beautifully written, lyrical novel is a portrait of family tensions and the listless half-light in which a mistress must live”

Jane Clinton, Sunday Express

“Enright's prose has a brilliant physicality... Her observations of the Irish boom years are caustic and credible”

Tom Gatti, The Times

“Enright has taken a simple plot and produced a touching novel that examines the cost - and the compensations - of love. The heroine is both plausible and sympathetic, while the supporting cast is marshalled with skill, tenderness and humour”

Max Davidson, Mail on Sunday

“A simply and beautifully told tale”


“A simple tale of adultery and its consequences, told from a female perspective…Enright risks an over-familiarity of the subject matter, but she has brought it off superbly”

Daily Telegraph

“Enright is brilliant on the emotional battlefields and dance floors that exist between men and women… Smartingly funny and profoundly wise”


“The Forgotten Waltz delicately weaves the personal and political into a wry, tender exploration of family, marriage and the price of passion”

Sorcha Hamilton, Irish Times

“Brave, beautiful and quite brilliant”

Joseph O’Connor, Irish Independent

“A brilliant evocation of an ill-fated extramarital; affair, told with Enright’s customary sharp wit and knack for spotting a love-related cliché”

Guardian, Holiday Reads:

“The latest novel from the Booker Prize winning author has an emotional heft that belies the novel’s slender size”

Sunday Business Post Ireland

“a very human tale about passion, secrets and lies.”

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