Emily's Reviews > The Gathering

The Gathering by Anne Enright
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's review
Jun 27, 10

bookshelves: fiction, britain
Read from June 15 to 24, 2010

A review on the cover compared Anne Enright to Joan Didion, and, well, I haven't read any Joan Didion, so I can't say. But apparently Didion has "cold, furious grief" and so does Enright. Maybe I'd add "slightly manic" to the grieving part.

Veronica is one of 12, and her younger brother Liam has just killed himself. The general plot revolves around her attempts to gather her disparate brothers and sisters back to their ancestral home in Dublin for the funeral. The part of the story that keeps everything oozing forward dreamily are her memories of her childhood, in particular something that happened in her grandmother's house when she was 8 and Liam was 9.

You're supposed to believe, in some capacity at least, that this event has plagued her and Liam's entire lives. Really Veronica just came across as a selfish mildly alcoholic mother of two. Which, in an odd way, seems relatable to a lot of parents out there. Your life starts to seem meaningless, you're obsessing over renovations and paint colors and pretty soon your younger brother's killed himself and you've got to spend weeks with your 12 siblings, at the end of which you're ready to walk into the ocean with rocks in your pocket, too.

The writing was really great, though. I just might read some Didion now.
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Reading Progress

06/15/2010 page 48
06/21/2010 page 187
72.0% "Even at night I could tell who was where: each room cold and differently stale as the whole, soured day unloaded itself through my brothers' sleeping skin; the scent of my mother's tablets in the upstairs toilet, after she went in there to pee."

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