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The Forgotten Waltz

3.11 of 5 stars 3.11  ·  rating details  ·  3,805 ratings  ·  701 reviews
The Forgotten Waltz is a memory of desire: a recollection of the bewildering speed of attraction, the irreparable slip into longing, that reads with breathtaking immediacy. In Terenure, a pleasant suburb of Dublin, in the winter of 2009, it has snowed. A woman recalls the trail of lust and happenstance that brought her to fall for "the love of her life." As the city outsid ...more
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published May 31st 2011 by McClelland & Stewart (first published January 1st 2011)
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The Night Circus by Erin MorgensternThe Song of Achilles by Madeline MillerState of Wonder by Ann PatchettGillespie and I by Jane  HarrisHalf Blood Blues by Esi Edugyan
Orange Prize For Fiction Longlist 2012
8th out of 20 books — 148 voters
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern11/22/63 by Stephen KingState of Wonder by Ann PatchettThe Art of Fielding by Chad HarbachThe Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes
Kirkus Best Books of 2011
46th out of 88 books — 173 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Fill a bucket with water; dash in some Ireland, some mild alcoholism, some men, a heaping spoonful of adulterous sex, two neglectful fathers and two cups of fragmented conversations; sprinkle the name Seán liberally into the brew. Stir. Abandon chronology and good sense: hey presto, The Forgotten Waltz. Badly in need of some ruthless editing, a fortnight of copy-pasting and a serious reconsideration of the protagonist’s actual net worth, and oh, the audacity of taking first-person narrative to s ...more
Jennifer Steil
I expected to love this book, given Anne Enright's reputation and my love for all things Irish. But it left me cold. It's not the adultery that galled me, but how it was carried out and presented. Even after finishing the book I found the main character, Gina, elusive. She never came to life for me as a real, whole person. I can't imagine what her conversation is like, how she walks, what she likes to eat, or even what she does at her job, which is only vaguely explained. I couldn't even really ...more
Zoe Brown
This book taught me a couple of things about myself as a reader. First, I don't enjoy first person narratives like I used to. The characters are naturally too self-absorbed and unless they are complex, insightful people, their view of the other characters and their situation is too limited. In this story, a married woman with little self-knowledge begins a relationship with a married man - a man she never seems to fully understand and so we, as readers, don't really understand him either. Enrigh ...more
Carl R.
Anne Enright won the 2007 Booker for The Gathering I liked it, liked it, liked it, always meant to get back to Anne, and here she is with The Forgotten Waltz. Check out the cover, above. A perfect statement of the book. The woman represents Gina Moynihan, the chairs her husband and her lover. She’s got a hand on each, chosen neither. That’s part of the mess she creates. I’ll follow up on the rest a bit later. First, a word about language and voice, since those are the elements that make this bo ...more
Boring. Other than a few well-constructed, lyrical paragraphs, I never grew to care either way about these characters. You would think a novel about an affair would have some romance, or give some deeply felt reason for the attraction. But here we see this relationship from the beginning to its current, undefined state of both partners having left their marriages, and now - what? We never really know. Even the partners don't seem convinced about why they've started up with each other: we get the ...more
I liked this book. I think I did, anyway. I mean, perhaps I didn't but I just forgot. On the other hand, maybe I didn't forget and I'm just being coy about memory. But then, maybe I do remember everything completely, but I'm just lying outright. I think I liked the book.

If that is an irritating introduction to a review, try reading 230-odd pages of a book written entirely in that vein.

Enright plays with the nature of memory while her protagonist forward slash narrator plays with the nature of an
sarah gilbert
I close this book thinking to myself, "why? Why did I love it so?" and not having concrete answers. It has all the elements of a book I shouldn't like: too much sex, too much philandering, everyone rather miserable in the end, too much materialism, many essentially unlikable characters. But -- it was perfect. Ideal, really, in the way that Ford Madox Ford's A Good Soldier has long been my ideal English novel. I pick it up again, and read it, and think to myself, "why?" Who knows. It is.

It's so,
Saying that this novel is about an affair is like saying a home is about bricks and glass. That's true enough, in a way, but it's not getting any where near the substance within. I have never read writing like that of Anne Enright's. It is powerful, and funny, and thought provoking all at the same time. I read ever so slowly to capture every phrase and reread sentences or whole paragraphs over again to contemplate their meaning which resonated deeply within me. She'll write something profound in ...more
This is the second book I've read recently where an important element of the book was the fraught relation between a woman and her lover's daughter by another woman (the other was True by Riikka Pulkkinen). This book is narrated by a 32-year-old Irish woman beginning in Ireland's early 21st century economic boom and ending in its bust. She is married to one man, but drops the spoiler early in the text that in the end she is living with another. Thus the plot, which hinges on how their relationsh ...more
There are two ways to read Anne Enright’s novel “The Forgotten Waltz”: The first, as a sexy page-turner filled with feigned nonchalance between instances of passionate hotel room hopping; The second, as one woman walking into the middle of life-as-she-knows-it with dynamite stuffed into her Wonder Bra.

The premise is that Gina Moynihan is going to meet up with the daughter of her lover. Along the way she considers the events of the past few years that have brought her to this point, starting wit
Oct 18, 2011 Judy rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of Irish writers
I spent the summer reading plenty of novels by smart, young, cutting-edge writers. It was fun and exhilarating. But as fall approached and the days grew shorter, it felt appropriate to read a novel about adultery and its consequences by a seasoned author who knows the pathways of the heart.

The Forgotten Waltz, set in and around Dublin, encompasses those incredible years when Ireland, after all its sad centuries of impoverished outsider status, finally got to be a player in the mad scramble for w
The prose is gorgeous but keeps its distance. With Gina as the sole narrator, we only hear her perspective, and from what I can gather, she is a difficult person to know. Clues to her shallow, self-absorbed behavior are revealed in bits about her childhood and her relationship with her "pretend everything is perfect" mother (who even hides her declining health from her family). Even Gina's sister is too concerned with pretenses to feel authentic.

As I type this, I can't help but wonder if Enrigh
This is a book of social criticism and satire, seriously weakened by its uninteresting, dimly described, humanoid characters. Anne Enright depicts this generation of Irish yuppies as vacuous nonentities, almost psychopathic in their disregard for conscience. This does not add to the strength of her indictment. Instead, it produces a dull book, very easy to abandon.

Taken paragraph by paragraph, this is a well-written book. As a whole, it disappoints.
This very disturbing and gloriously written novel, by Anne Enright, takes place in Ireland, but a modern day Ireland which, other than the places which are named, could just as easily be modern America. The setting is irrelevant, except that it is a middle/upper middle class venue filled with intelligent, professional characters rather than one of poverty or extreme wealth. The Forgotten Waltz is the story of an affair between Sean Vallely, a married man, and Gina (I am not sure we know her last ...more
Lori Bamber
Anne Enright is a poet first, I think, and then a novelist, and after that, a philosopher and sociologist. This subtle, readable book is a devastating series of minuscule revelations about the way we destroy our lives, and the lives of others, with obtuse innocence and a sense of unexamined entitlement.

After racing through The Forgotten Waltz, drawn along by a taut plot line, I wish I had time to read it again with a highlighter, marking its many fresh, acute phrases.

I didn't love The Gathering
Anne Enright always pulls me up short. It is as if she is hidden on my shoulder, reading my mind. She writes with a dreamlike yet direct quality noticing details others might not bother to mention. It is like daydreaming when your mind falls upon something you had long forgotten from the past. The stories always,dot about in time as she dwells on one thing that leads onto another, but not always chronologically. I don't always understand what she is saying - it is so personal to the character. B ...more
Jo Case
With her Booker-winning novel The Gathering, Anne Enright gained a raised profile and a new following. This, her first novel since, again takes up the theme of family connections and domestic secrets, in a story that centres on an affair.

Gina meets Sean, her sister’s neighbour, at her niece’s birthday party – and again on a beach holiday. There are prickles of interest, but no real connection. When Gina’s employer needs to hire a management consultant, she suggests Sean, and the wheels are in tr
Jenny (Reading Envy)
A great example of why not to choose books based on the reviews - most people have been really ambivalent about it, and I think I only decided to read it today because it was the only book from the Orange Prize shortlist immediately available to me, and the prize gets announced tomorrow.

This book gutted me. I'm not sure I have ever read a more realistic portrayal of the inner journey of guilt, and of how we retell stories of our own lives to ourselves. There were also moments of humor that rang
The Gathering, Enright's Booker Prize winning book, will be my next read. I am a sudden and delighted discoverer of Enright's gloriously poetic, understated prose. As we move back and forth in time inside the narrator's mind, slowly emerges a portrait of a certain set of Irish people in boom time and in bust. The narrator remembers her first glimpse of the man who would be the love of her life, (at a party where everyone was part of a couple). IN a fragmentary way, we suffer through a parent's d ...more
I had trouble deciding what I thought about this book. I changed my rating three times before even starting to write the review. This is a book about rationalizations. I'm not one to moralize book characters. After all, I'm along for the journey, to vicariously experience other people's lives. I feel like I'm missing out on something vital to the experience of the book if I judge a character for her decisions and choices. But I couldn't help but hate Gina a little bit for being both selfish and ...more
Chuck Erion
David Lodge’s fictional biography of H.G.Wells, and Anne Enright’s latest novel The Forgotten Waltz, both published in May, share a theme: the emotional politics of marital affairs. A Man of Parts (Random House UK, $34.95) is a 560-page life of HG, the self-made novelist, social reformer, and Free Love advocate. David Lodge is a British novelist with some 14 novels to his credit, many of them parodies of the academic life. He also has penned ten works of essays and literary criticism, but A Man ...more
It's taken me two months to get through a book that should probably take no more than 2 hours! That about says it all. It simply didn't grab me, and I've read half a dozen other books in the meantime that I couldn't put down.
Sadly, I really, really wanted to like, if not love, The Forgotten Waltz following a couple of interesting interviews with Anne Enright I'd listened to, and having read rave reviews about The Gathering which won the Booker Prize a few years ago, I had quite high expectation
****This was a Goodreads first reads book***

This book was nicely written. It's an interesting look into what effects an extra marital affair will have on a family. The characters are likeable, but they didn't quite catch me, or make me feel for them. Well, that's not entirely true, I do feel for Evie, just a bit.

Part of the reason the story didn't grab me right away is the style of the writing. It doesn't follow the typical story format of clear beginning, with the character building, conflict,
John Braine
I teetered on not liking this. There's something about the Irish lilt that I couldn't help thinking American readers would love as much as a shillelagh hanging from an ole Irish pub. It's that delivery that Enright writes with. And it can be a bit grating I found. Like listening to someone at a kitchen table thinking out loud. Or overhearing a very long, and very Irish phone call which is very ME ME ME. But I got over it, or got used to it, or something. Enwright won me over in the end and I rea ...more
J. Robinson
The best books for me are the ones I learn from--about life, about myself, about the world, about writing. This novel is so much more than a novel simply about an affair. In fact, details such as their sexual encounters aren't shared in detail with the reader--why write what has been written about, experienced, by anyone who has ever had an affair? Not necessary. And not what the book is ultimately about. What is enthralling for this reader is the sharing of what is going on in 34 year old Gina ...more
Bonnie Brody
Anne Enright, author of the 2007 Booker Prize winner, The Gathering, has written a new novel called The Forgotten Waltz. It is told from the point of view of Gina Moynihan who has a lust-filled affair with a married man, Sean Vallely. They first meet at a garden party hosted by Anne's sister Fiona, and progresses from there. At first there are innocent (and not so innocent) looks, and then on a business trip in Switzerland, the affair begins in earnest.

When Gina first sees Sean at Fiona's garden
The bleak tone and lack of redemption in this novel makes it hard for me to say that I really liked it, but it is extremely well-crafted and gets more compelling as it progresses. I went from considering not finishing it, to not being able to put it down.

This is mostly a character study as I see it, Enright shows the devastation caused by a pointless extra marital affair. It captures so well that generation of narcissists and a particular type of person, so self-obsessed and shallow that they ar
This book has been sitting on my Kindle for quite some time, and I started it while also reading Moby Dick, as some light reading in amongst the frozen seas of the whale hunt text. There is some gorgeous writing about love in here, about broken hearts, about broken homes, about disappointment, and about Ireland. Mmm, and about business travel, about the coldness of houses in winter when all there is, is a boiler to heat a house and then radiators in the rooms, and that's not enough sometimes.

Think is the operative word here, the lack of it. Gina and Sean seem to go through life, including their adulterous affair and Sean’s disturbed daughter, with no reflection on the consequences of their actions. Sure, it seems like reflection, as Gina tells the story, but she never gets deeper than a microtome. The ending, or lack of it brought me up short. Left me wanting to say, okay, nice writing, but what’s the point?
Emi Bevacqua
This is one woman's view of her extramarital affair, from the first meeting, to the demise of her marriage, to their ultimate "unity" of sorts. Her name is Gina Moynihan, she is Irish, about 32, and entirely self-involved. I kept expecting the next chapter to be somebody else's perspective of the affair, but no it was Gina's all the way through. "A new, unapologetic kind of adultery novel," is how Elle magazine describes this book; but I guess that's what I didn't like, was how unapologetic it w ...more
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Goodreads Ireland: May Monthly Read 2012: The Forgotten Waltz 18 38 May 28, 2012 06:09AM  
  • Ghost Light
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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.
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“All children are beautiful: the thing they do with their eyes that seems so dazzling when they take you all in, or seem to take you all in; it's like being looked at by an alien, or a cat - who knows what they see?” 2 likes
“I took my bag, and the suitcase of clothes, and I took the thing he wanted most - a little boy, maybe, as yet unmade; a sturdy little runaround fella, for sitting on his shoulders, and video games down the arcade, and football in the park.” 1 likes
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