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The Gathering

3.02  ·  Rating Details ·  14,784 Ratings  ·  2,491 Reviews
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 ou
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Paperback, 261 pages
Published March 20th 2008 by Vintage (first published May 3rd 2007)
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Susan It is a hard read at times but full of profundity and had me rigid with tension when I read and reread some her remarks about relationships between…moreIt is a hard read at times but full of profundity and had me rigid with tension when I read and reread some her remarks about relationships between men and women, men and men, women and men - every layer is there somewhere and occasionally if I blinked I nearly missed some of the jewels in this novel. Huge amount of thinking going on as I read this book on my part(less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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karen

this book was very frustrating. i feel like i should love it, but it's like there is a barrier - a chastity belt between us preventing our love, and as much as i want it, it isn't going to happen for us. there is a quality to her writing that reminded me of what i loved or housekeeping, books i am also told i am supposed to love, but just can't feel anything for, like distant relations. she is a less antiseptic writer than hustvedt, though. i respect her prose - there are lines in here of amazin
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Sammy
Apr 20, 2008 Sammy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: d-the-bad
Please excuse me as I make a noise of annoyance, disgust, boredom and all around dissatisfaction... UGHARGHHHHUHHH. Don't even know how to spell that or if it makes any sense. Hey, that makes a nice segue into my review.

Let me start with the one perk I can honestly give this book. Anne Enright has a beautiful grasp of words but she doesn't know how to use them. She also had a wonderful gem of an idea for a story, but she didn't know how to develop it. Combine those two together you get a reader
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Samadrita
These words are imbued with a despair so raw that not even once during the time I was reading this did I feel an ounce of regret envisaging the time the novel drew to its inevitable conclusion. In fact I was eager for it to be over, for the narrator to stop pouring forth her endless stream of inchoate conjectures and unsavoury insinuations. Prior to this, I have slogged my way through Vollmann's 800-page behemoth (The Royal Family) which, despite its uncompromising sincerity and profound sympath ...more
Brian
Jun 24, 2008 Brian rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book actually angered me, and I think this paragraph sums up why:

"I know, as I write these... that they require me to deal in facts. It is time to call an end to romance and just say what happened in Ada's house, the year that I was eight and Liam was barely nine."

That passage occurs about halfway through the book. The preceding pages are an endless series of shapeless ponderings on what may or may not have happened. The narrator leaps from one era to the next, with the basic point being "S
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Jason Pettus
Apr 29, 2008 Jason Pettus rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
(My full review of this book is larger than Goodreads' word-count limit. Find the entire essay at the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography [cclapcenter.com]. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted here illegally.)

As a book critic, I of course try to steer clear of any information I can about a book I'm about to review, until I'm done with the book myself and have already made up my mind about what I thought; so imagine my surpris
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Lisa
May 27, 2008 Lisa rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
When I see that some people have given this book five stars, I start to question my own sanity. For me, the book had wonderful potential when I took it off the shelf and the Booker Award sticker only reinforced my impression that this would be a great read: WRONG. Wonderful words strung together does not a good story make. The narrator is completely two-dimensional as written and I was unable to connect with her or her perspective in any way. Yes, I understand the woman's "beloved" brother fell ...more
Paul Bryant
Jan 18, 2013 Paul Bryant rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: abandoned
CELEBRITY DEATH MATCH

Thank you ladies and gentlemen. Tonight's contest from the palatial surroundings of Monkstown Boxing Club here in Dun Laoghaire is to decide who is to represent the Republic of Ireland in the 2012 London Olympics Most Miserable Contemporary Novelist event.

(Scattered applause from the twenty or so people in the audience)

In the blue corner, we have Anne Enright

(Anne gets up tiredly from her chair in the corner and raises her hands on which giant gloves have been tied - she
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Darwin8u
Feb 11, 2016 Darwin8u rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
“I do not think we remember our family in any real sense. We live in them instead”
― Anne Enright, The Gathering

description

I grabbed a couple of my still unread, Irish writers to read while traveling back and forth, to and fro from Ireland for pleasure. Ha. Pleasure. The Irish know how to fuck, fight and die. Oh, and write.

Both novels centered around drownings, death, and memory. Both were Man Booker Prize winners (born two years apart). Both were very different looks back. Banville's The Sea was more poe
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Yulia
May 09, 2008 Yulia rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: repelled-by
Another Booker Prize winner that is so besotted with its ambiguity and ephemeral nature that it is entirely forgettable and endlessly frustrating. Please, no more showing off how one can see without seeing, live without living, or know without knowing. Tell a story! Don't give me a magic show.
Alice
Mar 14, 2008 Alice rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2008
I bought this book because I once again fell for Borders' Buy-1-Get-1-50%-Off deal. I needed a 2nd book, and this one won the Man Booker Prize in 2007. Hell, I thought, it can't be that bad.

Well, it wasn't terrible, but once again, I was deathly bored. More and more, I find myself very annoyed at authors who use the carrot-on-a-stick opening shtick (e.g. "OMG, you guys! Something HORRIBLE happened at my grandmother's house in 1968!! Now you've got to read this to find out what it was!!!! LOL!!!"
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Philip
Sep 19, 2008 Philip rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Anne Enright’s The Gathering deserves every ounce of praise it has received, and perhaps a bit more. It’s a family history of the Hegartys, told by Veronica after the death of her brother, Liam. So, and therefore, it is a wake, a stream of consciousness response to bereavement. There are more than shades of Molly Bloom here, as Veronica recounts intimate details of her own and her relatives’ ultimately inconsequential lives. And despite its obvious – and necessary – preoccupation with death and ...more
Fiona
Jun 16, 2015 Fiona rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: the bereaved
This is the best novel about grief and bereavement that I have read.

Enright captures the peculiar relationship of close siblings perfectly. It is not about love - you don't "love" a close sibling just as you don't "love" your arm. They are a part of you. When they die, you are broken. It is a hard, bitter, angry book because the grief you feel when a close sibling dies is a hard, bitter anger. An anger that is as close to madness as makes no difference. Grief colours everything, and makes everyt
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Trevor
Jul 05, 2016 Trevor rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2007
This was the only book on the Booker short list that I did not want to read. When it won, I was disappointed because I thought it looked too much like Banville's The Sea, and I did not enjoy my time with that book. However, I thought I needed to give The Gathering a shot. No, I was not pleasantly surprised.
Enright's The Gathering may have a some inciteful, well written sentences, and it may be well structured both in sequence and theme, but for what purpose? I did not feel that the structure wa
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Julie
May 30, 2015 Julie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Julie by: Maureen
The Gathering bears witness to a modern Ireland—which at the time of its publication in 2007 was the shiny, bright, roaring Celtic Tiger, an economic miracle—that cannot escape its past. It is told in a looping, troubling first-person by Veronica Hegarty, who lives an aimless existence in a detached five-bedroom home in the Dublin suburbs with her two lovely daughters and financier husband Tom. Veronica and Tom, who “moves money around, electronically. Every time he does this, a tiny bit sticks ...more
·Karen·
Jul 08, 2012 ·Karen· rated it it was ok
Take Two:

I'm afraid a re-read is not going to persuade me to add a star, I still can't 'like' this, sorry.The brick wall smash arrived at exactly the same point as the first time round: page 131. Veronica muses on faith and saints, mentioning that her brother Liam liked "three Roman saints with funny names who were turned upside down and had milk and mustard put up their noses, which killed them, apparently. It didn't seem to bother Kitty, as I recall." Kitty, as one might imagine, is the little
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Shovelmonkey1
Jan 09, 2012 Shovelmonkey1 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: people who like the lyrics but not the story
Recommended to Shovelmonkey1 by: 1001 books list
This is a book which needs to be read and appreciated, not for the story but for the finely crafted, lyrical text. The story itself seemed to be a moderately predictable and stereotypical tale and I think I almost guessed the deep rooted reason for the suicide before the idea of looking for a possible cause had even hit the ground and started running. An impressively large Irish family gathers to mourn the passing of one of their siblings and history, as it is want to do at these kind of events, ...more
K
Jul 09, 2008 K rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K by: margueya
Another one for the growing life-is-just-too-short pile. This book was draggy and depressing, and I didn't get a whole lot out of it. What were those Booker judges thinking?

First of all, while I would be the last person to minimize molestation, its prevalence, and its traumatic effects, it has really become a literary cliche: young child of a dysfunctional family living in a less enlightened place and/or time is molested, no one ever finds out/addresses it properly, young child is psychologicall
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Laura
Jun 11, 2013 Laura rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, book-club
An Irish woman's brother dies. She is obsessed with sex (or, more accurately, with penises) and mumbles to herself about something (maybe death, maybe sex, maybe family -- it's awfully hard to say) for 250 pages.

While my summary of this self-indulgent mess of a book is obviously meant to be facetious, it's not far off. Enright's narrator really doesn't have anything to say, nor does Enright give us any reason that we should want to hear her say it. We're supposed to be interested in the narrato
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Barb
Amazing It Could Win Any Award, Let Alone the Man Booker Prize.

This was another selection from my book club. We affectionately refer to it as the 'bad book club' because we have chosen some really bad, awful, horrid, ghastly books and this one is right up there with the worst of the worst as far as I'm concerned.

I guess you either get Anne Enright or you don't and I don't. If this had been some sort of cathartic memoir like Joan Didion's 'Year of Magical Thinking' I could have given the author
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Fionnuala
Jan 27, 2015 Fionnuala rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is original writing. I particularly admired the way Enright circled around her subject, teasing out the material until the moment was right for revelation; it takes a fierce discipline to do that well. I also liked the way she handled the first person narrative. Veronica's voice rings so true. Enright has the knack of going beyond the reader's willing suspension of disbelief. Suspension of disbelief doesn't even come into it. All human life is in her fiction. In fact, it's not fiction at al ...more
Lucy
Apr 09, 2009 Lucy rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I remember walking through the Guggenheim Museum and stopping at an exhibit called "White Canvas" or something like that. For all I know, somebody bought a blank canvas, realized they had no talent with painting but a knack for knowing what passes for cool and sold the idea to the powers that be of art. Or, perhaps it is actually art. I have no degree or expertise in that area, but a white canvas doesn't look like art to me.

Likewise, someone, Anne Engright in this case, writes a confusing and mu
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Soumen Daschoudhury
Jul 29, 2014 Soumen Daschoudhury rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who like madness in the writings
Shelves: 2014-reads, booker
The glaring rays of the sun are such a delight today; it’s a warm afternoon. It’s been raining unceasingly for the last two days and I can see the coconut tree in my backyard in its shadow, in its reflection in the small puddle that hasn't dried up yet and in itself of course A small beautiful yellow butterfly with a dab of black flits playfully among the branches; now she is here, now she is not.

I follow her aimless path and I wonder what makes this beautiful being so restless, is there a purpo
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Kevin McAllister
Dec 23, 2007 Kevin McAllister rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's been said that Sigmund Freud said of the Irish "This is one race of people for whom psychoanalysis is of no use whatsoever."
After reading the Gathering you can begin to understand why. The Irish seem to be haunted not only by guilt and shame, but by the ghosts of their dead relatives as well. Here's a particularly telling passage from the novel :

" I know I sound bitter, and Christ I wish I wasn't such a hard bitch sometimes, but my brother blamed me for twenty years or more. He blamed me fo
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Ahmed
Feb 01, 2016 Ahmed rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
التجمع ..... آن إنرايت

جوائز المان بوكر غالبًا ما تكون علامة مضمونة على الجودة، بل والعظمة أحيانًا، تجاربي الشخصية مع تلك الروايات في غاية المتعة، والملاحظ هو ربطها بين أزمان مختلفة، في إطار محكم.

الرواية هي الحائزة على جائزة البوكر لعام 2007 كاتبة آيرلندية صاغت لنا رواية ايرلندية في غاية الجمال،عن الحنين لأيام صبا فاتت، وذكريات طفولة طغى عليها النسيان، عن حياة أسرة كثيفة العدد وإسقاطها الظريف على حياة جدتها مع فارق 80 سنة بينهما.

لابد لنا من الوقوف عند وصف الكاتبة لتفاصيل الحياة، فلا يمكن أن نتجاه
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mali
Apr 16, 2008 mali rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literature, memory, uk, ireland
In terms of writing, characterization, and the exploration of memory - this is among the best books I have read, period.

I am not a grieving middle-aged woman with a large family who has lost her brother to suicide. But the strong and accurate portrayal of alienation, loss, and grief - and the way people deal with these things in ways that are erratic, self-destructive, confusing, and unpredictable and illogical even to themselves - had me finding myself identifying with the narrator much more fr
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Shane
Jul 03, 2011 Shane rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I felt I wasted my time with this book; for all it did was introduce me to a dysfunctional family (aren’t all families dysfunctional?), and then leave me at a crossroads where nothing is resolved. The reader is free to write his own ending.

Veronica is a fortyish female from a large Irish Catholic family, who is having a meltdown in the wake of brother Liam’s suicide a la Virginia Woolfe (stones in pockets and all!). Liam’s death brings on the ghost of a secret the two shared since childhood, and
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K.D. Absolutely
May 27, 2010 K.D. Absolutely rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: No one (Jzhun, good luck!)
Recommended to K.D. by: 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (2010 edition)
Shelves: 1001-non-core, booker
"God, I hate my family, these people I never chose to love, but love all the same."

This line, found in the third to the last page of Anne Enright's The Gathering is an example of the many contradictions this novel has. This won the 2007 Man Booker Prize and I can see why. It is different. Ms. Enright has this fondness of contradicting herself not just in a single statement but in paragraphs, in several pages, the whole book and maybe even herself. Mrs. Enright, during the interview upon the anno
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Blair
Despite all the critical acclaim this book received, I'd heard nothing but negative things from actual readers before beginning it, so I was naturally a bit apprehensive and unsure of what to expect. The story hinges around the suicide of Liam Hegarty, and is narrated by his sister Veronica; now a mother of two young daughters living a comfortable middle-class life, she is haunted by memories of her impoverished childhood in Ireland, and the narrative flips back and forth between the 'gathering' ...more
Anna
Aug 07, 2008 Anna rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
If I wasn’t so curious about the secret, I would’ve stopped reading early on. Enright’s writing isn’t bad; I like the way her words flow, and I like her use of a first-person narrator to tell the family’s story. Obviously, Veronica isn’t going to be a reliable narrator as she comments about her parents, siblings, grandparents, husband, and children. She’s honest about her feelings for these people, but these feelings cloud her judgment. And we never hear the story from someone else’s point of vi ...more
Jenny (adultishbooks)
DNF'ed at page 34.

I cannot do her writing style. I have also DNF'ed The Green Road so yeah, this author and I are done.
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Anne Enright was born in Dublin, where she now lives and works. She has published three volumes of stories, one book of nonfiction, and five novels. In 2015, she was named the inaugural Laureate for Irish Fiction. Her novel The Gathering won the Man Booker Prize, and her last novel, The Forgotten Waltz, won the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction.
More about Anne Enright...

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“People do not change, they are merely revealed.” 2376 likes
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