Monday, December 31, 2007

The Gathering

by Anne Enright

Winner of the Man Booker Prize 2007

Veronica's brother, Liam, has killed himself, and she is in charge of the funeral arrangements, which include going to England to fetch the body. While travelling and organizing, Veronica contemplates her life and the troubled life of Liam. Specifically, she recalls the winter of 1968, a winter spent in her grandmother's house.

There is a very long build up to the revelation of the actual events of that winter. A very long build up. The reader knows that it is something sordid, but the actual event was a surprise to me. I had an idea, but it was not as sinister as what happened to Liam.

Interspersed with the present day narration and Veronica's flashbacks is the assumed history of Ada, Veronica's grandmother, and the two men in her life, Charlie and Lambert. Again, it takes a long time to put it all together and understand why she has included this history of her grandmother.

So, in essence, I found this relatively short novel (261 pages) to be very long. Sometimes excruciatingly long. But Enright eventually redeems herself with a surprise at Liam's funeral.


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