The Gathering - Anne Enright

I spent some time at my parents house last week and found myself browsing my Mother’s bookshelf looking for something to read. The Gathering by Anne Enright caught my eye.

This is the story of Veronica Hegarty, it follows Veronica’s inner journey as she tries to come to terms with her Brother’s suicide and work her way through the factors of his childhood that may have caused his alcoholism and death.
The nine surviving children of the Hegarty clan gather in Dublin for the wake of their wayward brother Liam. It wasn’t the drink that killed him – although that certainly helped – it was what happened to him as a boy in his grandmother’s house, in the winter of 1968.
The Gathering is a novel about love and disappointment, about thwarted lust and limitless desire, and how our fate is written in the body, not in the stars.
This novel was very different to what I usually read. It was written in a very lyrical way, very dark, eloquent and most definitely original. Anne Enright sure has her own way of expressing emotions and it is quite interesting yet sometimes hard to read.

The thing I really liked about this novel was the idea that one event that happens when you are young, can shape your whole future and the person you become. I like to think we are a sum of our past and present. That, we are who we are because of all that has happened to us, how we handle situations and the people that surround us. Enright does a wonderful job of showing how one traumatic event can change the course of our lives dramatically.

This novel was very dark and did not have a happy ending. At least, I did not feel it did so. The characters in this novel are all a sad, sorry bunch of people whose lives have not turned out as they planned. Enright makes old age seems like a death in itself and the whole tone of this novel was quite sad and slightly morbid. It left me feeling deflated and a little depressed. It left me feeling that one day I too will be old and that life is quite a sad, hard thing to have to go through.

If you like stories about people and the struggle to deal with a lost childhood then you may love this book. If you are overly emotional and sensitive like me then it isn’t going to leave you feeling good. That said, I have never read a book written in such a way before so I found the prose quite interesting to study.

Rating 2.5/5


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