Monday, April 13, 2009

The Gathering by Anne Enright

I was looking forward to reading this, as from the blurb plus the fact it was a Booker prize winner, it sounded like just the sort of novel I would enjoy. In fact it was a complete let down that I was glad to finish as it was so depressing. It was not difficult to read just for my taste the narrator Veronica's obsession with guilt over the death of her brother Liam just became somewhat boring and depressing.
The idea of reading the story of the Hegarty family, Midge, Bea, Ernest, Stevie, Ita, Mossie, Liam, Veronica, Kitty, Alice and the twins Ivor and Jem as the nine surviving children of the clan gathered in Dublin for the funeral of Liam was initially appealing as had been promised a novel about love and disappointment. A cast of potenially interesting characters that I never got to know at all, as none of them are given any personality by the narrator, Veronica.
Veronia is angry and finds fault in everything in her own life after the death of Liam the brother she was closest. Her childhood memories and imaginings of her grandparents and parents lives are all detailed, as her own sanity hangs in the balance as she tries to come to terms with the guilt and grief. Love and disappointment but certainly not from the angle I was expecting as the entire novel is a narration direct from Veronica's confused mind.
Technically a well written novel but I read for enjoyment not to get depressed. I am somewhat surprised that it won the 2007 Man Booker Prize , it is certainly not the title I would have voted for, my vote would have gone to On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan, but then I am no expert.

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