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Forgotten Waltz by Anne Enright
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Forgotten Waltz (original 2011; edition 2011)

by Anne Enright

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5433718,474 (3.38)1 / 126
Member:PamDon
Title:Forgotten Waltz
Authors:Anne Enright
Info:Jonathan Cape (2011), Paperback
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:2012

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The Forgotten Waltz by Anne Enright (2011)

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English (36)  Dutch (1)  All languages (37)
Showing 1-5 of 36 (next | show all)
man, rating this book is making me sad. i wanted to love this novel so much, and i just didn't. i loved a few sentences, enjoyed song titles as chapter titles, and do think enright is a wonderful writer, but this just didn't come together for me very well. i seem to be having this run of reads lately where the reader is kept at a distance, and the issues are dealt with in what feels like only a very surface manner. perhaps it's the limited perspective of narration? but when themes are so personal - marriage, parenting, adultery, for example - i really hope to have emotional connections with the prose. (and i am not saying my connections have to be positive. i love unreliable narrators, and unlikeable characters.) i also feel like there were opportunities for some tighter editing. the story felt sloppy at moments, and the flow was not great. i mean, that could be purposeful - these are some messy, careless people. i just wish we got into their messes a bit more. ( )
  DawsonOakes | Dec 5, 2014 |
The events of "The Forgotten Waltz" lead us down the trail toward Evie, the just-prepubescent daughter of philandering Seán, and she’s a quirky, uneven character to carry all that energy. And up until the last sections of the book, she doesn’t play a particularly prominent part in the story – she’s important, there’s just not a lot of text devoted to her."Forgotten Waltz" is a surprising book, considered in the context of Ms. Enright’s Booker-winning "The Gathering." It has none of the deep psychological strife, and abjures the artful burgeoning clarity of that masterpiece. But it is nevertheless a compelling read.

In "The Forgotten Waltz" we follow the thoughts and sometimes the emotions of Gina Moynihan, a Dubliner in her early 30s, who although married, pursues an affair with married Seán. Her inward dialogue rings too true: she kind of knows what she’s doing is reprehensible and costly, knows why she’s now caused alienation and sorrow in two families, but – she and Seán will try to make a go of it, at least for now. And slowly, the importance of Evie, Seán’s 14 year-old daughter, starts to grow. By the end of the book I thought of her as about to exercise the judgment of the world – will she survive and thrive while aligning herself with Gina, or will she turn her back and thereby take her Dad – and Gina’s happiness – away?

I’m convinced of this importance for the character by the open-ended way Ms. Enright leaves the issue – there is really no way to ascertain Evie’s state of mind from her statements. It gives us the opportunity not only to understand the critical nature of the issue for Gina, but also to speculate as to the outcome. But a fortiori it gives Gina’s and Seán’s misadventures the slight possibility of durability, of the certifying mark of longevity, and we don’t know if we want that for Gina. As a character, she engenders no sympathy, and this is perhaps Evie’s function. It could be that the youngster’s final judgment dooms Gina, and this is a highly persuasive, perhaps the most logical, reading.

I looked for parallels with the grand and magisterial "The Gathering," and I did find them. We get the same crystal clear and true-to-life inward dialogue in the main character. Although the morality of the two characters from the two books is at least very divergent (if not diametrically opposed), we understand the series of machinations and rationalizations that Gina goes through, and this is a great accomplishment, make no mistake. Ms. Enright set out to portray a realistic progress of an adulterer, which by playing it perfectly straight, she achieves extremely well. By then placing her fate in the hands of a shaky and retrogressive teen, she leaves the end of the story open, and the reader is free to form her own conclusions.

This is a very balanced and honest conjuring. We enter the head of our anti-hero and see its none-too-pretty workings clearly, and this is the great success of "Forgotten Waltz."

http://bassoprofundo1.blogspot.com/2014/09/the-forgotten-waltz-by-anne-enright.h... ( )
  LukeS | Sep 17, 2014 |
So I read this in one night. Thick pages & generously-sized font, yes, but also a compelling story. ( )
  cat-ballou | Jan 22, 2014 |
So I read this in one night. Thick pages & generously-sized font, yes, but also a compelling story. ( )
  cat-ballou | Jan 22, 2014 |
Gina narrates her story about living in a very modern Ireland, and cheating on her husband with a married man. And that's the novel in a sentence.

What I Liked: I haven't read much Irish literature, but I really like what I've read so far. There is a world view or a voice or something that I find unusual, but not foreign--sort of like an off-kilter version of the world I know. The Forgotten Waltz fits in with what I know about Irish lit in that case. I liked how the booming, and then busting, Ireland of the early 21st century is almost a character in this novel. But what was strongest for me was the narrator's voice--she spoke deeply about very common things, yet had an outlook that is so different from my own, or anyone I've ever known, that I was intrigued by what would come out of her mouth next. This was aided by the audiobook reader who had a charming Irish accent--this is a world where people "tink about tings" ("think about things").

What I Didn't Like: I didn't quite get the point. It was interesting to listen to this Irish person ramble on about the mess she makes of her life, but it didn't go anywhere. I also didn't see much development or growth in any of the characters. And what does the title mean? I guess the back and forth structure and the back and forth relationships are a bit of a waltz, but where is the forgotten aspect? Is it that I will forget this book a week after I finish it?

Recommended for: There is some strong writing and mastery of voice here, so if that's your thing (I mean "ting"), then try it. If you need to like your characters, or find them having a degree of integrity, or if you need a strong plot, then skip this one. ( )
1 vote Nickelini | Jan 13, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 36 (next | show all)
Enright’s channeling of Gina’s interior monologue is so accurate and unsparing that reading her book is, at times, like eavesdropping on a very long, crazily intimate cellphone conversation.
 
added by chazzard | editThe Guardian, Hermione Lee (Apr 30, 2011)
 
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If it hadn't been for the child then none of this might have happened, but the fact that a child was involved made everything that much harder to forgive.
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During a snowstorm, Gina Moynihan reminisces the string of events that brought her the love of her life, Sean Vallely, and recalls their affair.

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