[PDF] The Gathering By Anne Enright

Anne Enright  7 review

The Gathering

Stinctive intelligence twists the world a fraction and gives it back to us in a new and unforgettable light The Gathering is a daring witty and insightful family epic clarified through Anne Enright’s unblinking eye It is a novel about love and disappointment about how memories warp and secrets fester and how fate is written in the body not in the stars Because a mother s love is God s greatest joke This sentence would make perfect sense to me if we turned it aroundBecause a God s love is mother s greatest jokeReligion like family wounds and family love is something one doesn t shake off easily and that keeps haunting grown up people long after they think they have left their origins behind Even what you forget shapes what you are And that is all I remember of this novel which may have left impact on me than I am aware of But that is something I am unable to see of course having forgotten it So like most Bookers and Pulitzers it will be a guest of honour on my forgettable shelf It is good to keep track of what we forget lest we forget My forgettables have a Gathering place a home and I am pleased to revisit it from time to time like old family members and empty churches

characters The Gathering

E gathering in Dublin for the wake of their wayward brother Liam drowned in the sea His sister Veronica collects the body and keeps the dead man company guarding the secret she shares with him something that happened in their grandmother’s house in the winter of 1968 As Enright traces the line of betrayal and redemption through three generations her di An intelligent insightful and thought provoking novel about an Irish family experiencing the loss of a brother and sonAnne Enright s 2007 novel that garnered the Man Booker Prize for that year is an enjoyable but sometimes difficult journey in the life of Veronica who has recently lost her brother Told from the days immediately following his tragic death as well as remembrances from their life together Enright tells Liam s story from the perspective of Veronica his younger sister by about 11 months they being younger siblings of a populous Irish Catholic family Veronica and Liam were born in the early sixties so much of the past that Veronica recalls is from this problematic time Enright also goes far back in the family history to Veronica s grandmother and her romances and the time when the seeds of Liam s troubles may have been first sownMost provocative for me was Enright s spot on characterization This is a woman who knows how women think and who masterfully conveys this knowledge into rich artful prose The story she describes is complex with discerning awareness of sexuality and the dynamics of a large familyExtraordinarily well written and engaging Enright s is a poetic voice describing a troubled time with courage sensitivity and vitality

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Anne Enright is a dazzling writer of international stature and one of Ireland’s most singular voices Now she delivers The Gathering a moving evocative portrait of a large Irish family and a shot of fresh blood into the Irish literary tradition combining the lyricism of the old with the shock of the new The nine surviving children of the Hegarty clan ar These words are imbued with a despair so raw that not even once during the time I was reading this did I feel an ounce of regret envisaging the time the novel drew to its inevitable conclusion In fact I was eager for it to be over for the narrator to stop pouring forth her endless stream of inchoate conjectures and unsavoury insinuations Prior to this I have slogged my way through Vollmann s 800 page behemoth The Royal Family which despite its uncompromising sincerity and profound sympathy for the dispossessed of the earth features depravities of the highest order and I continue to do battle with Leslie Marmon Silko s righteously fiery tirade in Almanac of the Dead which takes pleasure in referencing every known and unknown stomach churning theme under the sun simply to make the reader suirm in their seat But somehow Anne Enright s seemingly innocuous concoction of blood bonds and family drama contains unpleasantness than the two works combined I do not know the truth or I do not know how to tell the truth All I have are stories night thoughts the sudden convictions that uncertainty spawns All I have are ravings like Every statement or harmless speculation opening a window into the narrator s world provides a disconcerting view of an emotionally repressed traumatized individual One who is outwardly an ordinary woman grappling with the challenges of a moderately satisfactory marriage at the sunset of her youth A mother of two tiptoe ing around her own life like a trespasser But it s only her relationship with her recently deceased brother Liam which seems to give her life substance endow it with meaning and purpose rooting her to a particular point in time and memory from which she cannot detach herself despite best efforts In a way she seems like a listless disembodied spirit propelled only by the currents of happenstance mundane daily occurrences and passive aggressive conversations with her siblings and ambiguous husband always ever grazing the surface of the truth the truth of a summer spent in her grandmother s place long ago with her brother Liam until the time she finally shuns hesitation and divulges that closely guarded wholly repugnant secret A secret so complex and incomprehensible even to its keeper that it seems to have hijacked her life in retrospect and delineated the downward trajectory of decline and eventual self destruction that Liam was doomed to follow They are a bundle of nerves frayed at the ends They are wearing each other away both of them amazed by the thinness of skin that happens just there how close they can be blood to blood so that the ticking afterwards of one inside the other might be a joke or a pulse the beating in your veins of someone else s heart In a sense the entire novel reads like the narrator s rambling extended letter of apology to a brother she failed to rescue in time both in the distant and recent past It is piercing and earnest Besides Anne Enright never indulges in the folly of distilling the issue into easy dichotomies of moral and immoral but uses words clever cutting precise words to make sense of the incident which serves as the seam of the narrative But unfortunately enough this is a particularly breed of fiction which impairs my ability to feel empathy for any of its characters even though I m always acutely aware of its power There is just too much hurt too much toxic resentment lurking between the arrays of words that seem to percolate into a reader s blood like insidious poison Even passages sketching a commonplace scene of domestic bliss are pregnant with implications that my mind refused to parse fully out of some hazily defined fear The sex scenes made my skin crawl Sometimes I felt I was going to drown in my own revulsion for this book People she used to think do not change they are merely revealed And yet I cannot deny the truth of Enright s masterful unravelling of this yarn which allows the reader to partake in the shared experience of a free fall that seems to have been Veronica Hegarty s life for thirty nine years In the end I am unable to love but I can grudgingly admire


About the Author: Anne Enright

Anne Enright was born in Dublin where she now lives and works She has published three volumes of stories one book of nonfiction and five novels In 2015 she was named the inaugural Laureate for Irish Fiction Her novel The Gathering won the Man Booker Prize and The Forgotten Waltz won the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction



10 thoughts on “The Gathering

  1. says:

    this book was very frustrating i feel like i should love it but it's like there is a barrier a chastity belt between us preventing our love and as much as i want it it isn't going to happen for us there is a uality to her

  2. says:

    Please excuse me as I make a noise of annoyance disgust boredom and all around dissatisfaction UGHARGHHHHUHHH Don't even know how to spell that or if it makes any sense Hey that makes a nice segue into my reviewLet me start

  3. says:

    These words are imbued with a despair so raw that not even once during the time I was reading this did I feel an ounce of

  4. says:

    This book actually angered me and I think this paragraph sums up whyI know as I write these that they reuire me to deal in facts It is time to call an end to romance and just say what happened in Ada's house the

  5. says:

    My full review of this book is larger than Goodreads' word count limit Find the entire essay at the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography cclapcentercom I am the original author of this essay as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not be

  6. says:

    An intelligent insightful and thought provoking novel about an Irish family experiencing the loss of a brother and sonAnne

  7. says:

    Because a mother's love is God's greatest joke This sentence would make perfect sense to me if we turned it aroundBecause a God's lov

  8. says:

    I have no idea how to feel about this book let alone rate itFor the first half I was in love with it I was in love with the writing which is exceptional inviting personal painful and sparkling I was suinting with as much derision as confusion like Clint Eastwood in all of his spaghetti westerns at all the low ratingsThe book explor

  9. says:

    When I see that some people have given this book five stars I start to uestion my own sanity For me the book had wonderful potential when I took it off the shelf and the Booker Award sticker only reinforced my impression that this would be a gr

  10. says:

    This novel is definitely not for everyone—probably why it has such a low rating here But I thoroughly enjoyed it Enright examines grief guilt and family trauma so universally in this story though she uses the lens of one woman Veronica to do so The writing is taut but immersive and the story unfolds slowly and builds itself back up by the end to delivering a satisfying conclusion that will keep you thinking I found it to be a d

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