Anne Enright (Vintage)

“No one ever stopped to describe yesterday’s weather,” says the narrator in the second short story of this collection.

In bringing together material written over the course of 19 years Enright does just this, pausing for a moment to relive the wind, rain and snow that befalls the characters drawn by her younger self.

It’s fair to say the forecast of yore is bleak: love is not so much lost as squashed, smothered and starved.

Children are unwanted, Christmas is spent alone and marital affairs are par for the course.

The light at the end of the tunnel is Enright’s distilled, poetic turn of phrase.

The short story genre fits the Booker winner like a glove, fleshing out entire lives in a mere dozen pages.

Each vignette is so neatly observed you start to worry the author lived each painful episode herself.

It’s a relief to note in her introduction, then, the stories: “are written by people I might have been but decided against. They are written by women who take a different turn in the road.” AMY ADAMS