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The Forgotten Waltz [Paperback]

Anne Enright
3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
RRP: 8.99
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Book Description

29 Mar 2012

Shortlisted for The Orange Prize for Fiction 2012

If it hadn't been for the child then none of this might have happened.

She saw me kissing her father.

She saw her father kissing me.

The fact that a child got mixed up in it all made us feel that it mattered, that there was no going back.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (29 Mar 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099539780
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099539780
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 91,642 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"An achingly brilliant piece of writing on passion and delusion. Comparisons to Madame Bovary are not overblown, not because it is a wry, clever, philosophical take on adultery - although it is - but because it makes you re-evaluate everything a novel can be... This book is enough to restore your faith in the power of fiction" (Viv Groskop Independent)

"An important novel... It is a rare thing: the literary page turner... An acutely tender depiction of the complex familial bonds joining us, a delicate portrait of love, loss and hope, from a formidably talented writer" (Claire Kilroy Financial Times)

"A love story for our times... In a single sentence [Enright] conjures up that violent pendulum swing of emotion that can blow whole worlds apart... This is the great pleasure of reading Enright: her sheer virtuoso control of language, those compact sentences, with their occasional flares of lyrical beauty and emotional force" (Irish Times)

"A luminous novel... Haunting, dreamy, sexy and with flashes of salty wit this is one of those novels that you are sorry to see end. It is very much an Irish novel and much of its time but the anatomy of desire and passion are timeless" (Jennifer Selway Daily Express)

"The real pleasure of the book is the dancing, delicious prose" (Evening Standard)

Book Description

A powerful, moving book of secrets, longing and loss, from the Man Booker Prize-winning author of The Gathering.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Dull and grubby 21 May 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A minority view I know, but I just don't get Anne Enright. This was my second attempt at one of her novels and I found this as depressing as the last. Fair enough, she has a good turn of phrase and handles language well, but there is no plot to be bothered with here, and I found the characters unsympathetic and/or unbelievable. But more than that, she paints a picture of a grubby, charmless world devoid of anything to provide a bright counterpoint to her sad and unattractive characters. In some ways Enright's world reminds me of Ian McEwan's works - Cement Garden etc, (though without his added twist of psycho). I suppose I found Gina and Sean's affair so hard to care about because they didn't seem to care about each other. They certainly don't love each other and he's hardly attractive - even seen through Gina's eyes. He's a paunchy, gauche, middle-aged salesman. And as for the fat and precocious child Evie, she struck me as something rather slimy and horrid. The relationship between Gina and her sister starts to warm up, but dies away just as quickly when Gina's affair is discovered and her sister takes the moral high ground. The one and only character I thought seemed sympathetic in any way was Gina's jilted husband Conor. Basically, this seems to be the story of a girl who's a bit of an idiot, surrounds herself with horrible people and lives a very lonely life.
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39 of 44 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "The Things We Do For Love" 25 April 2011
By Ripple TOP 100 REVIEWER
Set in modern day Dublin, Gina recalls the events that led to an affair that wrecks two marriages. Anne Enright's 2007 Booker prize winning "The Gathering" addressed the gloomy subjects of the three D's; death, depression and dysfunctional families. Her latest book, "The Forgotten Waltz", set in Dublin in 2009, sees her turning her attentions to a love affair. A more uplifting subject you might think. Well only up to a point. The affair in question you see is that of her narrator, Gina, who is already married to the generally good, if undynamic, Connor, while on the other end, the subject of the affair is the older, Seán, also married and neighbour of Gina's sister. In case your moral compass isn't stretched quite enough by this, Seán and his wife Aileen, also have a young daughter who suffers from epilepsy.

What Enright does so well is identify the little gestures. The story is told by Gina as a recollection of what happened and the narrator acknowledges that this memory is not always infallible. There's a very self-aware sense to Gina's voice and there's also plenty of wry humour about family and about what we might call the middle age crisis. Gina, we sense, knows she's in the wrong in both thought and deed, but her justification of her actions are endearing and it's hard not to sympathise with her, not least as we only get her view of things. But while Gina has her flaws, she acknowledges at least most of them and recognizes when she's being unfair or unreasonable, which makes it a more enjoyable read.

Another nice touch is that each relatively short chapter has a "love song" title, ranging from "Paper Roses" and "In These Shoes?" to "Money (That's What I Want)". Fittingly the final chapter is entitled "The Things We Do for Love".
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Forgotten Waltz 17 Aug 2012
By JDavies
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book was reviewed in the Guardian so I picked it up from Amazon and once I started reading I couldn't stop. It's a page-turner and you could find yourself on holiday devouring its economic prose and exquisitely drawn characterisation. I recommend this to anyone who loved Enright's Gathering Light which was as equally enthralling.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The End of the Affair 20 Sep 2011
By purpleheart TOP 100 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
'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.'

Anne Enright's preface opens in post Catholic Ireland and yet forgiveness is still in the first sentence. From the preface we know that there will be an affair and that the child is 'special', touched perhaps by illness or gifted in some way. The novel itself opens 'I met him first in my sister's garden in Enniskerry. That is where I saw him first. There was nothing fated about it, though I add in the late summer light and the view.'

We are immediately in Enright's world - the view is self-aware and sardonic and sharply written. She sums up Ireland on the brink of the financial crisis brilliantly. It is magnificently caught in all its hubris and madness. As others have said in their reviews it is less good on letting us understand the motivations for the affair, other than in that preface and in the reference to the (financial) cost of it all. After trying to finish it there is a great paragraph where she describes her journey home on the train 'I had a window seat. I looked out over the countryside, the stone walls of Sligo giving way to the Leitrim bog. When we crossed the Shannon I was in love with him. By Mullingar I thought, if I did not see him soon again, that I would surely die.' Yet Enright cannot make us believe that fully.

I liked the song titles as chapter headings and loved Enright's wit and I would probably have given this five stars if it weren't for the third section where the focus is on Evie, the child in the preface. Although there is a certain sense to it - describing the impact on others that an affair can wreak - it somehow didn't make narrative sense to me.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Whilst the writing is good and very realistic
Whilst the writing is good and very realistic, I found the main character unsympathetic. Female characters are very well portrayed.
Published 4 days ago by Mrs M P Morton
3.0 out of 5 stars The main relationship was not believable as a great love affair
Yes, OK - there's no-one very likeable in this story, but that's no reason to give any book fewer stars that if the characters ARE likeable! Read more
Published 22 days ago by KATE JOHNSON
1.0 out of 5 stars Tosh
Very tedious..Thank goodness I borrowed it from the library..It left me cold..All about self obsessed middle class people..full of sex. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Greedy Reader
4.0 out of 5 stars You think it's about sex...
The Forgotten Waltz is a wonderfully written, acerbically-witty, literary page-turner. It's a tale of adultery set against the rise and smash of Ireland's boom period. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Sanjida
2.0 out of 5 stars What a disapointment!!!
As a book group we were very disappointed.The story was thin and the critics reviews were very over rated.None of us,sadly,liked it!
Published 11 months ago by Mrs A. M. Scanlan.
5.0 out of 5 stars book
I was pleased with all aspects of this purchase: the product arrived promptly and was in excellent condition and met my expectations.
Published 12 months ago by Ms. S. J. Rolph
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
Just a bit dull to be honest. I was a little embarrassed to be the one responsible for selecting it at our book group-it wasn't well received and as nothing really happened there... Read more
Published 14 months ago by M. E. Cole
1.0 out of 5 stars Boring
I found this book totally boring all the way through.
I was extremely disappointed by the ending - it was inconclusive.
Published 14 months ago by Gill Johnson
4.0 out of 5 stars ARRIVED VERY QUICKLY
Very cheap, listed as very good condition but I would have said 'good' was more accurate - but at the price, definitely good value and prompt service
Published 15 months ago by A Customer
2.0 out of 5 stars Trying....
I tried so hard to like this book. I really did. But the author just tries too hard to be 'literary'. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Mellie Jellie
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