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What are You Like? (A Jonathan Cape original) Paperback – 2 Mar 2000

3.1 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Paperback, 2 Mar 2000
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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Jonathan Cape Ltd; First Paperback Edition edition (2 Mar. 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0224060635
  • ISBN-13: 978-0224060639
  • Package Dimensions: 21.3 x 13.5 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,462,471 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Amazon Review

Irish author Anne Enright has scored a perfect hit with her second novel What Are You Like? Witty, profoundly affecting and lyrical, without a hint of gushiness, this is the story of twins, Maria and Rose, separated at birth, who lead dislocated lives until finally at 25, they come to meet with all the rich satisfaction of a well-told love story. When the twin's mother dies in childbirth, their father allows one daughter to be adopted, so that Maria grows up in a Dublin suburb, while Rose is raised by a doctor in Leatherhead.

The novel follows Maria to Manhattan where she ends up cleaning apartments and trying to pretend she's a sexual sophisticate. Her own mystery unravels when she falls in love with boy who carries a photo of what looks like her, aged 12, in his wallet. "She had been completely robbed...She had the right mouth, but the wrong voice might come out of it". Meanwhile Rose is quitting music college and a dull lover and sensing that she "has the kind of mind where nothing was ever enough".

Enright balances the mystery of their provenance superbly and her handling of the character's inexplicable alienation is astounding. Physical sensations are revealed in a fresh, visual and highly sensual way. When Rose's boyfriend jolts out of her during sex, "he laughed, all angry and flustered like he had pulled his head out from under a waterfall".

Maria's visit to the family farm has some of the most vivid descriptive writing in recent Irish fiction. You can feel yourself at the Sunday lunch, where "men ate their way through to the china, mashing potatoes to sop up the gravy, shaking the salt, their movements obliged and tragic as they picked their way through the teacups and the tiny jug for milk".

Despite the emotional intensity of the narrative, the tone is never overwrought nor the prose maudlin. The language startles and spins from the opening line: "She was small for a monster, with the slightly hurt look that monsters and babies share, the same need to understand". The moments of psychic connection between the twins and the ending are wisely underplayed and the overall effect is as haunting as Seamus Deane's Reading in the Dark. An assured, compelling novel about identity, loss and messy business of recovery. --Cherry Smyth


"'Hauntingly told'" (Sunday Times)

"'Anne Enright is a very original writer - a spry surrealist who challenges the world with extraordinary, lancing intelligent and so controlled'" (James Wood Guardian) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Format: Paperback
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31 January 2001
Format: Paperback
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28 August 2013
Format: Paperback
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