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The Gathering Audio Download – Unabridged

2.9 out of 5 stars 151 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio Download
  • Listening Length: 7 hours and 47 minutes
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Unabridged
  • Publisher: Oakhill Publishing Ltd
  • Audible.co.uk Release Date: 11 Jun. 2008
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002SQDGM8
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank:

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
What is it about the literary crowd? Why are they so different from the rest of us? This book got good reviews in the press and won the Booker prize, yet most readers didn't rate it at all, and neither do I. A novelist can just about get away with writing about a dreary subject (in this case the unlikable narrator's unlikable family) but only if the writing is really good. I found the pretentious style of this book to be grating and irritating, partly because of the author's attempts at making it 'literary' (lots of very short sentences, often just one word) and partly because of the constant first-person present-tense (I say, he says, etc) which isn't particularly unusual, but which becomes tiresome when combined with the lack of substance.
Apparently this book has sold by the hundreds of thousands on the back of all the initial praise, in which case there must be a hell of a lot of disappointed people out there.
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Format: Hardcover
An uncertainty grew within me when reading that this novel was `the least enjoyable work of fiction' incorporating nothing but tired clichés and a sense of purgatory. That was until Anne Enright encapsulated me through her contagious narrative and the battle between truth and fantasy.

The Gathering is a story based in Ireland in the winter of 1968, that captures a symbolic journey through the difficulty of bereavement, alcoholism and religion, aspects of normality for the Hegarty family. Central character, Veronica Hegarty unveils the uncertainty of her existence and darkness behind her middle class lifestyle following the emotional turmoil her sibling's suicide has thrown her into. Not only does this grief create a consistent realism throughout the novel, but as a reader entitles a stronger attachment to the binding family. Caught in a dysfunctional state of sexual history, Veronica becomes a more intriguing character, who refuses to accept her past so lives through fictional or warped memories of her beloved Grandmother, Ada Merriman. A way of life that can only reiterate the redemption that defines her.

Although the writing technique throughout The Gathering lacks concise structure, it enforces the messy attributes within the story as Anne Enright has not only written in a melancholy form, but integrated a humorous and quirky storyline to lower pretentiousness. Her literary approach delves into Veronica's petulant perspective of loneliness and the jigsaw of generations she grew up alongside. Visualising her upbringing and the accuracy of description within this novel makes it so authentic it is almost uncomfortable.
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Comment 9 of 10 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Paperback
Oh dear ... what can one say about this book (that hasn't already been said by other reviewers certainly). I read this book for my book group and after the first 15 pages or so found myself thinking - right, let's get this book over and done with and get on to something interesting! The central premise was obviously the gathering of the relatives for Liam's funeral but Veronica (the narrator of the story) meandered from thought to thought and appeared to be obsessed with sex which become very tedious and boring after a while. The chapters and asides about Ada the grandmother seemed totally unnecessary and very odd and apart from the abuse part with Lambert Nugent could easily have been left out - except that would have made the book thinner than it was and was presumably just padding.

There was no real story to this book I found and although I could empathise with some of Veronica's feelings concerning her children and her siblings the whole thing was just a bit too odd and strange to make it a worthwhile read.

Can't think how it did win the Booker prize - who nobbled the judges!
Comment 20 of 23 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The Booker Prize is known as much for its occasional mis-fires as it is for recognising and rewarding brilliance. One thing's for sure; this 2007 winner is unlikely to trouble future compilers of 'Best of Booker' lists. In some ways it is surprising that it won simply because it is so close in its central themes to the winner two years before, John Banville's The Sea, which also deals with dysfunctional relationships, childhood memories, and the guilt and grief felt after a family death. But while Banville's book is a must-read masterpiece and worthy prize-winner; The Gathering is not...

This reader's frustration with The Gathering was amplified by the fact that it starts wonderfully and raises expectations to a level that it ultimately disappoints. There's no doubting Enright's 'technical' writing skills, and she has a particular way with metaphor, and a dark humour runs through her work. The opening chapter, only two pages long, is brilliant, setting the scene, establishing intrigue and a sense of dread - what memories, however uncertain, will the narrator invoke?

The novel reaches its high-point in Chapter 2 as the narrator goes to break the news of her brother's death to her sainted mother, and this big, brawling Irish family's history begins to spill out and show its cracks. But from here, as Enright has her narrator imagining - in endless detail - the lives and thoughts of her grandparents' generation and the hazy memories from her own childhood, in order to bring sense to her own situation now, the book begins to suffer seriously from being over-written and a complete loss of narrative momentum. At only 250 pages, the book feels twice as long, and comes across as a good short-story that's been stretched un-naturally to fit a novel's form.
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