Customer Review

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Don't tell Mammy., 3 May 2013
This review is from: The Gathering (Paperback)
Anne Enright was born in Dublin in 1962. She is a graduate of Trinity College Dublin, an ex-employee of RTE and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. The Gathering was her fourth novel and won the 2007 Booker Prize.

"The Gathering" is told my Veronica Hegarty, a 39 year old Dubliner. She's married to Tom and the couple have two daughters, Rebecca and Emily. As the book opens, word has just come through that one of Veronica's brothers, Liam, has committed suicide in Brighton. Liam had been struggling with a drink problem for years; Veronica suspects his problems may have stemmed from an incident in their childhood.

With "The Gathering", Veronica apparently aims to tell Liam's story...though "to tell Liam's story, then I have to start long before he was born". She begins in 1925, when her grandmother, Ada Merriman, first met Lambert Nugent. Lamb was smitten instantly, but - unfortunately for him - Ada went on to marry his friend Charlie Spillane.

While Veronica may have wanted to tell Liam's story, by the end of the book I knew precious little about him - she focuses instead on Ada and Lamb, and a large part of that story appears to have come out of her own imagination. It also becomes obvious that she hates men in general, and Tom - her poor husband - appears to be utterly baffled as to where some of her comments are coming from. (It's never made clear where this hatred came from and I finished the book wondering exactly what had happened to Veronica). Somehow, she oblivious to her hatred, and apparently confuses poison and bitterness with insight and wisdom. She frequently refers to herself as "the one who loved him [Liam] the most" - a line that I found harder and harder to believe the more and more she said it. A struggle, and not a book I'd recommend - though I would say it was more deserving of the 2007 Booker Prize than "On Chesil Beach".
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