Sunday, December 29, 2013

The Gathering by Anne Enright

The Gathering by Anne Enright
A short review

There has been a death in the family.  Veronica's brother, Liam drowned himself in the sea and now Veronica must collect the body from England and simultaneously hold herself together.  As the family of nine siblings comes together to say goodbye to their brother in the family home in Ireland, Veronica must guard her deepest secret while she is coming apart at the seams.  She fears her memories have warped and corrupted her and possibly Liam.

Enright has created an unreliable and creative narrator in Veronica.  While reading it, several times I found myself confused and thought this book is crazy and it doesn't make sense, until I figured out that Veronica was verging on major mental illness and trying to make sense out of a past that didn't make sense at all.  By golly, I got it.  The lightbulb in my brain went off.  Enright is pure genius.
My book club did not agree and many just skimmed while I perused the book.  Maybe it's because I related to the main character, Veronica and saw myself in her crisis that the book held meaning for me.  I'm frankly not sure.

Here are some of my favorite quotes:

"History is only biological - that's what I think.  We pick and choose the facts about ourselves - where we came from and what it means." pg 162

"I am all for sadness, I say, don't get me wrong.  I am all for the ordinary life of the brain.  But we fill up sometimes, like those little wooden birds that sit on a pole - we fill up with it, until donk, we tilt into the drink." pg 175

I liked (not loved, but truly liked) the book and thats all I can say.  You must read it and decide for yourself.  Go on now.  Give it a go.

The Gathering won the Man Booker Prize in 2007.