Thursday, 30 October 2008

My Thoughts: The Gathering by Anne Enright

Lots of reviews of this book say it is too depressing, too miserable. This is a book about a suicide, its hardly likely to be full of happiness and joy.

The book is narrated by a middle aged, middle class woman, with a seemingly perfect life - she's at home looking after the kids, whilst her husbands business is going so well she can buy anything she wants. But she isn't happy.

When her brother commits suicide she starts mulling over events in the past, her past and her families past, as well as the present, her lifeless, loveless marriage. Veronica is from a large family, one where the kids all drag up each other. The mother has too many kids to care about each child individually, and she also has some type of problem, so the family is constantly trying to protect her from the live going on around her. Veronica seems to hate, and yet love her mother, and also blames her father for having to grow up in this overly large family.

After her brother's suicide, Veronica explores a past she would have never known, the meeting of her grandparents, and how that meeting led to the event that she says it the root cause of her brother's death.

This novel is firmly based in the thoughts of the narrator, no great event happens, and you guess early on what childhood event will be revealed. I felt I never knew whether to trust this narrator, at some points she even told you that she couldn't clearly remember events. I also didn't really like her, or any of her family, they all seemed fairly self absorbed, no one really seemed to love anyone else, they all just existed side-by-side.

Saying that I thought it was well written, and a good read.

This was the last book I had to read for the 2008 Man Booker Challenge, this year I read:

By far my favorite was Mr Pip. In the next year I shall be reading all the of the 2008 shortlist, as well as some previous winners and runners up


Sandra said...

I read The Gathering too and was a little disappointed. It wasn't as powerful a story as I hoped for though I'm sure others feel differently. I have acquired copies of The Orchard on Fire and Moon Tiger recently and look forward to reading them. I'm glad to know you really liked Pip, I wasn't sure if it was for me or not.

Leah said...

You have been tagged with the'7 random facts: book edition' tag. Come over to The Octogon to get your instructions :)

Rhinoa said...

I skimmed your review as I am just about to pick ths up for the library discussion group. I have left it a little late as we meet this Saturday.