41 of 49 people found the following review helpful
This rambling sexual history of a dysfunctional clan of Dubliners falls squarely in the mediocre category,
This review is from: The Gathering (Paperback)
I was always unwilling to align myself with the `Booker bashers' for I was convinced that the much-debated literary prize surely attracted the most accomplished fictional works currently being penned in English. I was right, of course, but having now read 13 winners and a number of short- and long-listed works I can only conclude that, as in all other spheres of human endeavour, mediocrity dominates and brilliance shines inevitably but rarely. For me, Anne Enright's rambling sexual history of a dysfunctional clan of Dubliners falls squarely in the mediocre category.
At the funeral of alcoholic Liam Hegarty who has drowned off the coast of Brighton, his sister Veronica probes the past for clues as to what really set in motion her brother's decline and demise. Equipped with a memory as dysfunctional as her family she uncovers (fantasises?) sordid goings on in previous generations and, despite the fact that her grandmother was a whore and some of the others possess the morality of garden frogs, the `revelation' when it arrives hardly seems an event likely to traumatise one of the Hegarty clan. Seesawing back and forth in time and between reality and fantasy, and replete with gratuitous and almost slapstick sexual descriptions, irritating single word sentences and single sentence paragraphs, the narrative becomes pretty confusing and none too interesting. Frankly, none of the characters are thinking human beings. As we learn more about their genitalia than their emotions (not surprising as that seems to be where their brains reside), it is difficult to care much about what happens and to whom (and nothing much does happen). It is not that The Gathering is a bad book, more that in the end it does not amount to much.