Saturday, May 16, 2009

"The Gathering" by Anne Enright

For 40 years, the Man Booker Prize has been presented to an Irish novelist for penning the best novel of the year. The recipient is selected by book critics, other novelists/writers, and scholars. Anne Enright, a little known author of 4 previous novels, gained glowing praise and recognition for her writing when she received the 2007 Book Prize for "The Gathering." 

"The Gathering" is written in the first person from the perspective of middle-aged Veronica Hegarty, who contemplates the past, present, and future in the aftermath of her brother Liam's suicide. Veronica is assigned the task of bringing home her brother's body so the rest of her family can pay their respects. 

The novel sloppily moves from the present to the past and then back again as Veronica begins to remember past events from Liam's life that may or may not have happened, which may or may not have been the catalyst for Liam's desperate and selfish action.

Though Liam's alleged sexual abuse as a child is the reason why Veronica decides to put her thoughts to paper, he is only mentioned sparingly throughout the novel. The majority of her thoughts center around her unhappy marriage with Tom and an unreliable account of family history. 

Only 260 pages long, "The Gathering" proved to be a tedious read. The ending was very unsatisfying, leaving one to ponder what swayed the judges to honor this novel over several other appealing choices.


1 comment:

  1. This is seriously the worst book I've read in quite some time, which is actually kind of disappointing because I really wanted to like it. But it's hard to like something that is so utterly useless so by the time I got to the second half, I just (as you already know) started skipping over entire parts of chapters just to get through it without jamming a pencil into my eye.