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The Gathering by Anne Enright

The Gathering (original 2007; edition 2007)

by Anne Enright

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2,9461531,951 (3.04)319
Title:The Gathering
Authors:Anne Enright
Info:Jonathan Cape (2007), Hardcover, 260 pages
Collections:Your library, To read
Tags:Fiction, Irish Author, Ireland, Mann Booker Prize, TBR OAP, DE, bingo

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The Gathering by Anne Enright (2007)


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English (144)  Dutch (4)  German (2)  Swedish (1)  Hebrew (1)  All languages (152)
Showing 1-5 of 144 (next | show all)
A large Irish family loses a son to suicide, and the family gathers together to mourn his loss. In between, there is a lot of background information that the narrator, one of the sisters, reflects upon. This is not a happy book. There is a good bit of dysfunction within the family. I know that this is a prize winning novel, and I appreciate that, but the vagueness and veiled hints throughout the book make it a confusing read at times. Why do prize winning novels always have to be so "artsy"? I had to piece together the story between the lines. As an English major, I understand how to do this, but when I read for pleasure, I do not wish to work that hard. ( )
  hobbitprincess | Feb 22, 2015 |
I was dismayed on every level by this bleak and overwritten book. I love good writing, but in this case I felt like someone was holding my head and forcing me to look. The writing was constantly drawing attention to itself when I wanted to look away. The ebullient flood of words describing every moment, however inconsequential, made me feel vertiginous. Given that the narrator (as opposed to the author) of The Gathering is supposed to be unbearably bitter and emotionally shut down, it also rang false for this narrator to be so expressive in prose style.

Unpleasant all around. While I'm at it, let me mention that I'm also very tired of child abuse being exploited as a plot device. Cheap, cheap, cheap. ( )
  poingu | Jan 29, 2015 |
This is a ok book its the story of Veronica Hegarty she is organising her brother Liams funeral in Dublin.
She has to retrieve his body from Brighton.
Liam was the black sheep of the family.
Only Veronica knows why he turned out the way he did. This is a sad book about the dynamics of this family. ( )
  Daftboy1 | Nov 30, 2014 |
Too rambling and disjointed for me - couldn't make myself finish. ( )
  srtsrt | Aug 3, 2014 |

Unfortunately, The Gathering didn’t really do it for me. The Irish setting of the book was played up a lot on the cover and in some of the endorsements on the back of the book, but the Hegartys didn’t seem to embody the “Irish family” as claimed. Now, to be fair, I don’t exactly have a whole lot of knowledge in the subject, but I do feel like you could have taken out the heritage of the Hegartys and have the exact same story.

There were two aspects of this book I really enjoyed, and the book ends up with a star for each. The first is the way Anne Enright writes memories. The narrator in this book will describe a memory she has, and then admit that she knows the memory can’t have happened the way she thought it did because of some detail she remembers. This is how memories work in real life–I’m sure we all have memories we can recall with absolute certainty, only to remember things couldn’t have actually happened that way because we remember other circumstances surrounding the event, yet in our minds that memory remains firmly in place. That can be quite a frustrating experience, to feel you’re right about something when the facts you yourself remember contradict you, and I felt that throughout the course of this book. The first half of this book is composed mainly of memories, and for the first fifty pages, I was firmly hooked on this story for that simple fact alone.

The second aspect that I enjoyed was the writing itself. Each sentence was like a poem in and of itself. Even at moments in the book when terrible things were happening, the way each sentence was written was nothing short of beautiful. It’s the kind of writing that just begs to be made into an audio book to fall asleep to.

Unfortunately, the rest of the book fell short for me. Many of the memories that the narrator recalls seems to have no actual significance for her family or the plot of the book. It takes an entire half of the book to get to the point where you can even begin to realize what the story is about, and by that point I was already lost. Nothing seems to get resolved from that point on, and instead the narrator just keeps plodding along.

This is the epitome of a two star book for me. It’s certainly not terrible, but it’s not really close to reaching an enjoyable level either.

Final Impression: The writing in this book is gorgeous and at times haunting, but it doesn’t really stand on anything else. It takes too long for the “big reveal” moment to actually happen, and by that time I didn’t really have quite the level of emotional attachment to the Hegarty family as I would have liked. 2/5 stars.

Review originally posted on my blog at Book.Blog.Bake. ( )
  Stormydawnc | Jun 23, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 144 (next | show all)
At its best Enright's prose style is excitingly original, a blend of defensive social satire with extreme precision in evoking sounds, smells, and atmosphere and a great ability to make rapid and telling transitions from past to present, concrete to abstract, narrative to reflection. However, these qualities emerge for the most part in sections peripheral to the main story.... When, on the other hand, she slides into melodrama and literary formula, The Gathering does indeed sound like at least nine other writers and by no means the best.
added by jburlinson | editNew York Review of Books, Tim Parks (pay site) (Apr 17, 2008)
Her prose often ravishes and sometimes repels: reading her can be like staring into the lustrous surface of a lake, trying to discern the dangers lurking beneath. . . Bringing together the skills she has honed along the way, Enright carries off her illusions without props or dei ex machina, bravely engaging with the carnival horrors of everyday life.
added by lucyknows | editscis (pay site)

» Add other authors (9 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Anne Enrightprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Verhagen, PietTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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I would like to write down what happened in my grandmother's house the summer I was eight or nine, but I am not sure if it really did happen. I need to bear witness to an uncertain event. I feel it roaring inside me--this thing that may not have taken place. I don't even know what name to put on it. I think you might call it a crime of the flesh, but the flesh is long fallen away and I am not sure what hurt may linger in the bones.
…I was living my life in inverted commas. I could pick up my keys and go ‘home’ where I could ‘have sex’ with my ‘husband’ just like lots of other people did. That is what I had been doing for years. And I didn’t seem to mind the inverted commas, or even notice that I was living in them, until my brother died.
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This is The Gathering by Anne Enright. It should not be combined with The Gathering by Joseph Lidster.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0802170390, Paperback)

Amazon Significant Seven, November 2007: Pretty early on in The Gathering you realize that in her lingering portrait of the Hegarty clan (and this isn't hyperbole--they are a family of 12), Irish novelist Anne Enright will wrestle with all the giant literary tropes that have come before her. Family, of course, is the big one, but with equal intensity she explores death and dying, the sea and its siren song, sex, shame, secrecy, unreliable memories, madness, "the drink," and--always in the shadows--England. That said, it's not like any other novel about the Irish that I've read. The story of the Hegartys is indeed bleak, and hard, but it surges with tenderness and eloquent thought which, in the end, are the very things that help this family (or at least her narrator Veronica) survive. Through her eyes, and in Enright's skillful imagination, those small turning-point moments of life that we all know in some form or another--a petty fight, a careless word, an event witnessed--come together in an unshakeable vision of how you become the person you are. --Anne Bartholomew

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:48 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

As nine members of the Hegarty clan gather for the wake of their drowned brother Liam, his sister Veronica remembers the secret he shared with her about what happened in their grandmother's house thirty years ago, a betrayal that spans three generations. "The nine surviving children of the Hegarty clan are 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, she shows how memories warp and secrets fester."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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