Anne Enright is a dazzling writer of international stature and one of Ireland’s most singular voices. Now she delivers The Gathering, a moving, evocative portrait of a large Irish family and a shot of fresh blood into the Irish literary tradition, combining the lyricism of the old with the shock of the new. The nine surviving children of the Hegarty clan are gathering in Dublin for the wake of their wayward brother, Liam, drowned in the sea. His sister, Veronica, collects the body and keeps the dead man company, guarding the secret she shares with him—something that happened in their grandmother’s house in the winter of 1968. As Enright traces the line of betrayal and redemption through three generations her distinctive intelligence twists the world a fraction and gives it back to us in a new and unforgettable light. The Gathering is a daring, witty, and insightful family epic, clarified through Anne Enright’s unblinking eye. It is a novel about love and disappointment, about how memories warp and secrets fester, and how fate is written in the body, not in the stars.
In the taut latest from Enright (What Are You Like?), middle-aged Veronica Hegarty, the middle child in an Irish-Catholic family of nine, traces the aftermath of a tragedy that has claimed the life of rebellious elder brother Liam. As Veronica travels to London to bring Liam s body back to Dublin, her deep-seated resentment toward her overly passive mother and her dissatisfaction with her husband and children come to the fore. Tempers flare as the family assembles for Liam s wake, and a secret Veronica has concealed since childhood comes to light. Enright skillfully avoids sentimentality as she explores Veronica s past and her complicated relationship with Liam. She also bracingly imagines the life of Veronica s strong-willed grandmother, Ada. A melancholic love and rage bubbles just beneath the surface of this Dublin clan, and Enright explores it unflinchingly.
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I loved this book. It brought me to several self-realizations. She was biting when necessary, and soft at the edge of crying. I'd love to have a cup of tea or a dirty vodka with her. Very, very well written.
A stunning accomplishment
Fifty years from now writers in MFA programs will study Ms. Enright’s novels, trying to figure out how she does it. Anne Enright is simply one of the most accomplished writers working today, From the opening pages of the novel you know you are in strong, capable hands that will carry you through to the last page. She perfectly captures the brawllng nature of a large Irish family and what happens when one of the brothers dies.