"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.