Enright was strongly criticised for an essay she wrote for the diary section of The London Review of Books about the parents of missing child Madeleine McCann. (I don't know if Malaysian readers have been following the case - we did after all have the Nurin Jazlin case to chill our hearts ...).
In a piece that was unflinchingly honest (her hallmark after all!) about the complex and sometimes contradictory emotions that flooded through her, watching the news broadcasts about Madeleine day after day. Enright:
... tried to work through a cacophony of complicated emotions toward the girl’s parents, including reluctant voyeurism, distaste and pity.The British press blew the piece, and her confession in it that she had disliked the McCanns earlier than most people, out of all proportion. As Enright explains in the piece, it was an impulse she felt ashamed of afterwards, the anger growing out of the fact that they had left their child alone.
(And if we honestly examine our feelings in the Nurin case, well, aren't they equally complex?)
Of her writing Enright says:
The kids go to school; I sit down and write ... The kids go to bed; I sit down and write. ... I find that the whole sense of anxiety and largeness, the sense that you’re writing everything, the allness of it, disappears completely ... You have just three or four hours a day, and you’re going to write a book, and it just shrinks the work into its proper proportion.