Actress Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
A brilliant and moving novel about celebrity, sexual power, and a daughter’s search to understand her mother’s hidden truths.
Katherine O’Dell is an Irish theater legend. As her daughter, Norah, retraces her mother’s celebrated career and bohemian life, she delves into long-kept secrets, both her mother’s and her own. Katherine began her career on Ireland’s bus-and-truck circuit before making it to London’s West End, Broadway, and finally Hollywood. Every moment of her life is a performance, with young Norah standing in the wings. But the mother-daughter romance cannot survive Katherine’s past or the world’s damage. With age, alcohol, and dimming stardom, Katherine’s grip on reality grows fitful. Fueled by a proud and long-simmering rage, she commits a bizarre crime.
As Norah’s role gradually changes to Katherine’s protector, caregiver, and finally legacy-keeper, she revisits her mother’s life of fiercely kept secrets; and Norah reveals in turn the secrets of her own sexual and emotional coming-of-age story. Her narrative is shaped by three braided searches: for her father’s identity; for her mother’s motive in donning a Chanel suit one morning and shooting a TV producer in the foot; and her own search for a husband, family, and work she loves.
Bringing to life two generations of women with difficult sexual histories, both assaulted and silenced, both finding - or failing to find - their powers of recovery, Actress touches a raw and timely nerve. With virtuosic storytelling and in prose at turns lyrical and knife-sharp, Enright takes readers to the heart of the maddening yet tender love that binds a mother and daughter.
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|Listening Length||8 hours and 4 minutes|
|Whispersync for Voice||Ready|
|Audible.com Release Date||March 03, 2020|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #119,268 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#4,625 in Women's Fiction (Audible Books & Originals)
#5,357 in Literary Fiction (Audible Books & Originals)
#8,003 in Historical Fiction (Audible Books & Originals)
Top reviews from the United States
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It is an interesting companion read (though much better) to Revolutionaries, which I read last year, another fictional memoir set in America in the sixties
Top reviews from other countries
The novel tells the story of Katherine O’Dell, a star of the 1960s, ‘not just on screen or on the stage, but at the breakfast table also’, told by her now adult daughter, Norah. Katherine’s life has been a performance, she made herself up long ago, and she constantly works at sustaining the product that is Katherine O’Dell. Norah observes for instance how her mother, ‘turned to the mirror to put herself together and this was a wonderful thing to witness – the way she locked eyes with her own reflection and fixed, by some imperceptible shift, into her public self.’
What prompts Norah to reflect on her mother’s life is the doctoral thesis being written by a young woman, Holly Devane. What Holly Devane is interested in is ‘how my mother styled her femininity, but which she meant her sexual style’. Norah is very reluctant to consider this, but the sexual mores of the times dominate the novel.
Thought-provoking and heart-wrenching. How women are so often sidelined and relentlessly exploited and particularly creative women always reduced, scorned, trivilised.