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40 of 45 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "The Things We Do For Love"
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...
Published on 25 April 2011 by Ripple

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25 of 29 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Dull and grubby
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...
Published on 21 May 2012 by daisyrock


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40 of 45 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "The Things We Do For Love", 25 April 2011
By 
Ripple (uk) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Forgotten Waltz (Paperback)
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".

Enright has a clear writing style and the book gallops along at a brisk pace. Although hints of the outcome are apparent from the start, you still want to find out how the relationship between Gina and Seán develops. Will they get caught? If so, what will be the reaction of friends, family and work colleagues? It's not a long book and for at least two thirds of the book, this is the main focus of events. Seán's daughter, Evie, who ages from about four to twelve during the story, is largely a side issue.

Illness and death again feature in this book. At the start it is clear that Gina's mother is unwell, and her father died when Gina was a teenager. Once the relationship between Gina and Seán reaches a certain point (he said trying not to give anything away!) the pace of the narration slows down and specifically there is a chapter devoted largely to Gina's recollection of her father. Then in the final part, Evie starts to play more of a role as Gina tries to explain Seán's character and actions. Although I liked the ending very much, the final third of the book seemed to change tack slightly too much for me. I was, by then, caught up in the relationship developing but once it reached its destination, the story too seemed to lose its punch.

The characters are all nicely sketched rather than being deeply explored, but all are recognizable and have a realistic mix of flaws and strengths. Ultimately, no matter who each sees as the villains of the piece, all are victims in these situations. It's an enjoyable read. Then again, maybe I just like gossip!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A joy to read, 13 Sep 2014
By 
Jood (UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Forgotten Waltz (Paperback)
Gina, thirty-four years old, married to Conor, embarks on an affair with Sean. He too is married and has one child, Evie a strange, problematic child who seems to have suffered from fits or seizures when very small. Gina is not attracted to Sean physically, describing him variously as “short-arsed”, a cocky little bastard, bald and paunchy, but for all that, there is something about him. He is infuriating, loving, hateful, loveable. This is the thing, that despite everyone else not seeing what there is about Sean, Gina loves him. Simple as that.

We don't know what Gina looks like, what her tastes are in music, books or food; we know she has a sister who is considered prettier than she...but I didn't feel any the less involved with the story for this lack of knowledge, quite the reverse. I think it would have got in the way.

Each chapter is a song title which fits appropriately the narrative of that chapter. Her phrasing and prose is absolutely wonderful, and although not Irish, and have never been to Ireland, I could hear Gina's voice telling me the story of how she met and fell in love with Sean and out of love with Conor. This novel makes the point that you cannot help who you fall in love with and that it's not necessarily physical attraction that matters. It's also about memory – how we recollect things differently at different times.

This is the first book by Anne Enright I've read, and it won't be the last – I absolutely loved it. She has such a delicious way of writing – sparky, edgy but subtle – a joy to read.
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25 of 29 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Dull and grubby, 21 May 2012
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This review is from: The Forgotten Waltz (Paperback)
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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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 (UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Forgotten Waltz (Hardcover)
'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. I have wondered about whether this end of the affiar is Ireland's crisis writ small - the need to live with the consequences of a cerain madnesss.

Brilliant and yet in some ways emotionally lacking.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Ridiculously good writing - lazy and self-indulgent narrative, 2 July 2011
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Penelope Simpson "penny simpson" (dorset, england) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Forgotten Waltz (Hardcover)
This is a tough one. For the first two chapters I thought I was in heaven, the writing is so beautiful, the observation so keen, the possibilities of a delectable novel to come more than hinted at.

But there's only so much you can cover with observation and disjointed phrases, only so much the reader can take without something more meaty to sustain interest, only so many times you can leap about with the time frame before admiration turns to annoyance.

The first third is pretty sublime with its hints of actions to come, but once the die is cast the writer seems to lose interest and the reader follows. The characters are poorly drawn and the coldness that pervades the book starts to matter more and more as you read on, desperately searching for something - anything. And then it all ends, as suddenly as it began.

Disappointing is an understatement.
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19 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars THE TIGER'S MISTRESS, 18 July 2011
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This review is from: The Forgotten Waltz (Hardcover)
Anne Enright's "The Forgotten Waltz" is an intense tale of an adulterous affair set in Dublin just as the Celtic Tiger hits the wall.

The affair is fairly standard. Gina Moynihan, a thirty four year-old IT consultant married to the worthy Conor, is smitten by older, alpha male Sean Vallely whom she first spies from afar at a party given by her sister. Set pieces follow: the conference fling, the office seduction, the snatched rendezvous in hotels, the outraged sibling, the separation from the husband, the lover's conflict between mistress and child, the face-off between the mistress and the child, the Christmas dinner eaten alone. The death of a parent is thrown in.

Less standard is the setting of the affair in post Catholic Ireland. Whatever anguish Gina suffers, it is not of the soul. This is an Ireland of materialist, modern, wine chugging professionals. Values are measured in Euros, benchmarked against the price of property, at first soaring then collapsing. The rhythm of the economy and that of the affair are in sync. The two phenomena are related: "Who would have thought love could be so expensive? The price of this house plus the price of that house, divided by two . . . Thousands. Every time I touch him." At the end of the book, the outlook for both is barren. Formerly affluent citizens are as dépaysés as the lovers.

Enright's writing is diamond hard, full of sparkle but utterly uncompromising. She is sharply perceptive and edgily funny, as in Gina's reflection: " I just can't believe it. All you have to do is sleep with somebody and get caught and you never have to see your in-laws again." The reasons for reading this novel are less its insights into adultery and its consequences- though it contains many - than the virtuosity of its prose and the sardonic ferocity of its narrative voice.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars certainly dont want to join in this waltz again, 16 May 2012
By 
A. Browne "avid reader" (Donegal Ireland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Forgotten Waltz (Paperback)
I dont know what all the fuss is about this book . I could not engage with the characters.I found myself not caring about any of the protagonists. Gina the narrator seems to be looking for our support but she had an affair with Sean , a serial womaniser. Sean's wife comes across as neurotic but the 'other woman' is unlikely to paint the woman she has wronged in any kind of favourable light. Sean's daughter Evie and her epilepsey seems thrown in to add another aspect to the story but i could not find myself feeling any sympathy for this spoilt child caught up in the middle of her parents marital breakdown. Much is made of the end of the celtic tiger but i just found it oddly convenient that one can leave your husband and marital home , inherit your deceased mother's house so that your lover has a door to turn up at. I could not see any reason why Gina had an affair with Sean other than she could , and damn the consequences. I can see why people say Anne enright is a great writer, plenty of evidence of that but just no evidence that i should want to read her books.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Misses the mark, 2 Jun 2011
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This review is from: The Forgotten Waltz (Hardcover)
Chronicle of an affair and the consequent break-up of marriages, written from the perspective of the errant wife. A messy subject and a messy book. I found it hard to feel any sympathy for the characters or indeed any interest in what happened to them, including the child 'with problems'. Lots of clumsy, convoluted sentences which irritated, particularly in the first two-thirds of the book.
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3.0 out of 5 stars The main relationship was not believable as a great love affair, 10 Aug 2014
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This review is from: The Forgotten Waltz (Paperback)
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! For me, the problem was this wasn't consistently well written, or consistently convincing. The main relationship was not believable as a great love affair, and many of Gina's (main character) inner musings didn't come across as authentic. At times it was as though Enright was trying too hard to come up with an original metaphor or simile and ended up creating something which made me go 'what?' instead of 'oh, yes!'. I thought the writing was at its best when dealing with Gina's parents, and in the last few pages when she spends the day with Evie. My biggest objection however, is the trick that Enright plays right at the start to draw you in which, whilst beautifully written, is little short of a con, implying some sort of mystery surrounding Evie. If you haven't read this book, let me tell you - there is no mystery surrounding Evie; she has epilepsy (or something similar). Big deal.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A modern novel that reflects the lack of emotional commitment of the Facebook generation, 5 Mar 2013
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This review is from: The Forgotten Waltz (Paperback)
The quotes on the book do not fit the story we read. Tender? No. Achingly brilliant? No. It is, however, as the Irish Times put it, "A love story for our times." These emotionally changeable people - I love him, he loves me, well, he did and now maybe he never has...- skate across the surface of a relationship that begins nowhere and goes nowhere. The significance of the child, signaled early on as an important factor, is never fulfilled. If the story had lived up to its first paragraph, this would have been a very different review.
The good thing is the strong sense of place, the economically challenged Ireland where property won't sell, and peole are stalemated by their inability to change where they live and how it affects them.
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The Forgotten Waltz
The Forgotten Waltz by Anne Enright
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