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The Gathering by Anne Enright

The Gathering (original 2007; edition 2008)

by Anne Enright

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2,8041462,062 (3.04)294
Title:The Gathering
Authors:Anne Enright
Info:Vintage (2008), Paperback, 272 pages
Collections:Your library, To read
Tags:Enright Anne

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The Gathering by Anne Enright (2007)

1001 books (16) 2008 (31) 2009 (14) 21st century (24) abuse (15) alcoholism (18) book club (18) Booker (54) Booker Prize (145) Booker Prize Winner (60) contemporary fiction (20) death (38) Dublin (21) family (94) fiction (398) grief (22) Ireland (169) Irish (82) Irish fiction (41) Irish literature (56) literary fiction (26) literature (25) novel (68) read (26) read in 2008 (25) sexual abuse (13) siblings (24) suicide (53) to-read (82) unread (17)

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English (137)  Dutch (4)  German (2)  Swedish (1)  Hebrew (1)  All languages (145)
Showing 1-5 of 137 (next | show all)
Winner of the 2007 Booker Prize, Anne Enright’s The Gathering follows Irish woman Veronica Hegarty in the aftermath of her brother Liam’s suicide. As she travels to England to retrieve his body and bring it back to Dublin for burial, and braces herself for the wake which will see the drunken, bickering Hegarty clan reunited, she slowly begins to think about the past, and why her brother became a suicidal wreck. As the blurb puts it: “It wasn’t the drink that killed him – although that certainly helped – it was what happened to him as a boy in his grandmother’s house in the winter of 1968.” (It’s exactly what you think it is.)

The Gathering slots neatly into the Booker-bait category of “depressed person looks back on a life of regrets,” a template particularly popular among novelists from the British Isles (see also: The Sea, The Sense of an Ending.) I liked it a bit better than The Sense of an Ending, and a lot more than The Sea, but it was still a fairly dull affair. Enright is a decent enough writer when it comes to prose style, and there are some good scenes and visual images throughout the book. But in the end I simply couldn’t bring myself to care about this miserable woman from a family of jerks. I’m afraid I don’t have much more to say about this one. ( )
1 vote edgeworth | Oct 14, 2013 |
A description of secrets, abuse, and betrayal in the lives of three generations of a family in Ireland in the 20th century. Veronica the sister, slowly reveals what happened to her brother Liam who just drowned. It is a depressing but realistic and sad story
  drjesons | Aug 4, 2013 |
It's not so much a family gathering as a gathering of the narrator's memories about her dead brother and a gathering of her grandmother's life. I usually like the eccentricity of Man Booker Prize winners, but this one did nothing for me. I liked none of the characters -- I didn't even dislike them strongly enough. There's some minor entertainment in contemplating a family as large as their's, but that's about it.
Take a pass on this. ( )
  LDVoorberg | Apr 7, 2013 |
More a 3.5 than a 3. Beautiful, complicated. I have realized that in general I like books where you know what happens, though I wouldn't say there are loose ends here, necessarily. Most Booker prize winners aren't straightforward, after all. ( )
  JennyArch | Apr 3, 2013 |
Beautifully crafted prose. I feel as if perhaps I didn't do the book justice, by not paying close enough attention to the level of detail and the striking word choices Enright was able to weave into each paragraph. This one might have to go into the re-read pile, but the first read was satisfying. ( )
  cat-ballou | Apr 2, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 137 (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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:42:00 -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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