Apart from families, memories, Ireland and a host of other things, The Gathering is about child abuse. There is nothing in the blurb that even mentions this and I feel in the light of recent disclosures and the extent of institutionalised abuse that this is very telling.
The book is about the knowing, the guilt, the suspicion and the total destruction of the child and perhaps all those who knew and, either were too young to know what they knew, or denied it.
It seems with Rotherham in the news so dramatically that we are all guilty of silence. A culture of silence when no one would believe you if you said the word aloud or accused the favourite uncle, brother, father, grandfather, step father, or even friend of the family.
The prevalence of paedophilia feels like the fall of the Roman Empire. Those last days of debauchery when the worst of the worst of people’s nature was allowed to let rip. Perhaps a penchant for sex with children is part of some people’s nature and as difficult to renounce as over eating or over drinking but that does not make it OK or mean that control cannot be exercised. I think I’d be with Nancy Reagan on this – Just say no.