I have been reading Anne Enright’s The Gathering, winner of the Man Booker Prize 2007. Bit late, you might think and I would agree. Impossible now to plug the gaping holes in my reading but like the little Dutch boy attempting to prevent disaster, I keep trying.
Enright examines memory almost as a good Catholic examines conscience, at times with gleeful detachment, at others with ensuing guilt, with the innocence of an eight year old and with the grief of a grown woman reassessing her life after the suicide of her brother as the family gather for the wake.
The book is tender and subtle, as Colm Toibin says, but I am no judge if Enright’s vision of Ireland is ‘brave and original.’ It is an Ireland of thirty years ago, of seventy and of now, of her dreams, of her making and of her ancestry.
The book is about love and disappointment and is beautiful and quite brilliant, as Joseph O’ Connor says.