Paul Bryant's Reviews > The Gathering

The Gathering by Anne Enright
Rate this book
Clear rating

by
416390
's review
Jan 18, 2013

it was ok
bookshelves: 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 waves them vaguely at the small audience, most of whom are texting or playing pocket chess with each other)

Ladies and gentlemen, as you know, Anne is a local favourite whose first novel, The Wig My Father Wore, explored themes such as love, motherhood, Roman Catholicism, and sex in a downbeat manner, which she followed up with What Are You Like? which examined tensions and ironies between family members, but recently she won the Booker for The Gathering, which is much more miserable than both of these put together and then some, ladies and gentlemen.

Thank you thank you.

In the RED corner, we have Frank mcCourt, world famous author of Angela's Ashes, which milked sentimental cliches of poverty-stricken Irish childhoods until there was not a dry eye in the house, he needs no further introduction from me, he... what?

(Muffled voices, muffled cursing)

Ladies and gentlemen, I'm sorry to have to tell you this, but there has been an administrative mistake made, it seems that Frank McCourt passed away in 2009 after a long and successful career. So, er... it is my privilege to declare that Ireland's Most Miserable Contemporary Novelist is Anne Enright. (He tries to get Anne to come to the centre of the right for a victory salute but she's already climbing out of the ring and leaving.)

Thank you ladies and gentlemen. moving on, our next contest is a 5 round flyweight bout between two local lads (zzzt, click).

I've had enough of that. Sport. I hate it. Especially boxing. And golf. And bloody Formula One. Let's put on some music...

(Sly jazz-rock starts up, with a cheery cockney vocalist)

Singing folk songs in the nude
Plates and plates of your favourite food
Watching Tory gits get booed

Reasons to be cheerful, part 4
Reasons to be cheerful, part 4

Photos from holidays where nobody fell out
Dancing like an idiot, running flat-out
Dressing up like a giant trout

Reasons to be cheerful, part 4
Reasons to be cheerful, part 4

Writing graffiti on your abdominal wall
Days when you hardly move at all
Except to attend a masquerade ball
Not being a borrower, nor yet a lender
Going on a ten-day bender
Throwing The Gathering into the blender

Reasons to be cheerful, part 4
Reasons to be cheerful, part 4
Reasons to be cheerful, part 4
Reasons to be cheerful, part 4


(With apologies to the late great Ian Dury and the late great Frank McCourt)

Note : No copies of The Gathering were harmed during the making of this review

31 likes · flag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read The Gathering.
Sign In »

Reading Progress

06/07/2014 marked as: abandoned
06/08/2014 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-29 of 29) (29 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Ian (new)

Ian Vinogradus "In my bookish lair
Why do I waste valuable time
On authors who don't care
If their characters clang or chime?
Ireland knows I'm miserable now."


Did you read anything fun on your holiday?
Did you surreptitiously donate this book to the hotel library?

I love the line about graffiti on your abdominal wall.
Please god I hope it's yours.


Paul Bryant on my hol to Dorset I read Down with Big Brother, The Good Soldiers and gave up on The Interitance of Loss - tomorrow we are off to New York City, & I will be taking the Time Out Book of New York Short Stories (bien sur), 10.01 and Kraken, and half of Saturday unless I can get that done today. Where do Aussies go for their hols? The way we see it here, every day is a holiday in Australia.


message 3: by Ian (new)

Ian Vinogradus Looking forward to your reviews of 10.01 and Kraken.
I enjoyed The City and the City.

Aussies go to the beach (because our Xmas holidays are in summer), though last year we went to NYC.
Make sure you get to Barnes and Noble Union Square and Strand Books.
Also, try to get to as many delis as you can. My fave was 2nd Ave Deli.
No music stores were particularly impressive (compared with Amoeba in LA), but the JR near Wall Street was pretty good.


Paul Bryant speaking of music, let me brag a little bit - I get a name check on this upcoming deluxe Dust To Digital box set of fahey :

http://dust-digital.com/fahey

it's been a long time coming, and it's gonna be a long time gone.


message 5: by Manny (new)

Manny It's astonishing how well the boxing review works... it's pretty much become an established format.

Can we organize an elimination tournament where all the books on the site battle it out until a winner emerges? I think it would be a lot of fun. Someone posts the pairings, and then people volunteer to write the relevant reviews. If more than one person writes a review for a pairing, the winner is decided democratically. I'm not sure how we'd do the seeding though.


Paul Bryant well. count me in... although I don't consider them as mere boxing, I consider them CELEBRITY DEATH MATCHES. The promise is that one or more of the featured authors will end up dead, but as you see, this only happened by default in the Enright/McCourt bout. Much to the indifference of the crowd, who frankly didn't know who these people were.


Paul Bryant ps - I think the best one was the TS Eliot/Andrea Dworkin showdown. People still talk about that in the pubs round here.


message 8: by Ian (new)

Ian Vinogradus Paul wrote: "well. count me in... although I don't consider them as mere boxing, I consider them CELEBRITY DEATH MATCHES..."

Does that mean they're not just elimination matches, they're extermination matches as well?


Paul Bryant well in my opinion yes, they should be. But you know, some people wimp out. Some chainsaws are deliberately blunted.


message 10: by Ian (new)

Ian Vinogradus Would you mind posting some links to the sort of "boxing" review you're talking about?
I'm not sure I get the idea yet.
There have been some great author/author feuds (including Mailer/Vidal, Diana Trilling/Lillian Hellman, Naipaul/Theroux).
The first, as you'd expect, involved at least a head butt.
See also some of the comments in this recent article:
http://www.slate.com/id/2301312/


message 11: by K.D. (new) - rated it 1 star

K.D. Absolutely I share your views, Paul. Nice one.


message 12: by Manny (new)

Manny Ian wrote: "Would you mind posting some links to the sort of "boxing" review you're talking about?"

I think Bram's review of Eugene Onegin may still be the finest example of the genre. As far as I'm concerned, my one effort to date is this joint review of Atlas Shrugged and The Railway Children.


message 13: by Paul (new) - rated it 2 stars

Paul Bryant I'd missed that one, Manny - will read and chuckle later -

Ian, the one I was referring to is this

http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...

but i did do one between holden Caulfield and some other much put-upon whining adolescent, but can't remember which book now. Also, I was going to do one between Dave Pelzer's Child Called It and Sapphire's Push for the coveted title of Most Abusted Child Ever but thankfully I didn't, even I have a leetle bit of taste.


message 14: by Manny (last edited Aug 21, 2011 06:14AM) (new)

Manny I was going to do one between Dave Pelzer's Child Called It and Sapphire's Push for the coveted title of Most Abusted Child Ever but thankfully I didn't, even I have a leetle bit of taste.

Ah, c'mon, none of this false modesty please. Just ask yourself, what would Don King do?


message 15: by Paul (new) - rated it 2 stars

Paul Bryant most abusted?


message 16: by Manny (new)

Manny Paul wrote: "most abusted?"

I was just copying from your post... it sounded Shakespearian, though I couldn't quite place it. "Tom's a-busted"?


message 17: by Paul (new) - rated it 2 stars

Paul Bryant aye, poor Tom's a-busted sore.


message 18: by Ian (new)

Ian Vinogradus I'd love to have a crack at a boxing review, as long as I can do it punch-drunk.
Would anyone like to try a joint bout?


message 19: by Ian (new)

Ian Vinogradus Paul wrote: "aye, poor Tom's a-busted sore."

It sounds like Henry Fielding to me.
I think Tom Jones had several D-busted companions.


message 20: by Miriam (new)

Miriam I always think of Elizabeth Enright when people talk about Anne. Then I am confused.


message 21: by Hayes (last edited Feb 06, 2012 06:03AM) (new)

Hayes Aaahhhh! I have stumbled upon the very very first CDM review! Or if not the first, perhaps the first to hold that name. And I was just getting myself ready to read the Gathering. Needless to say, you have changed my mind. I am eternally grateful.




message 22: by Paul (new) - rated it 2 stars

Paul Bryant Dear Hayes - no, I think it's this one ...

http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...

You will say that it's called "#3" in the title but I remember putting that in to make people think it was part of a whole series.

Which it turned out to be.


message 23: by Hayes (last edited Feb 06, 2012 06:28AM) (new)

Hayes A self-fulfilling prophecy it was!

ETA: This one was more useful to me. I already knew (more than) enough about TSE.


message 24: by Paul (new) - rated it 2 stars

Paul Bryant yeah but you didn't know how Andrea Dworkin rendered his flailing form into four quartets and thus dealt a blow for students of English lierature throughout the world.


message 25: by Hayes (new)

Hayes This is true!


·Karen· Damn, I was just going to feel flattered that PB alluded to my byline from my CDM reviews that involved animals, but then suddenly realised that this was the prequel to the Sockfest. So it seems that 'twas me doing the alluding. Sorry about that, it won't happen again.


message 27: by Ian (new)

Ian Vinogradus Hayes wrote: "Aaahhhh! I have stumbled upon the very very first CDM review! Or if not the first, perhaps the first to hold that name."

Little did Manny know what he had got himself into as the Don King of CDM.


message 28: by Steve (new)

Steve The CDM format is great, and I salute all the Don Kings everywhere for their roles. (Side note: I once ordered a Don King salad. It was 90% alfalfa sprouts.)

But let's also give Paul credit for his happy song. It makes me want to find "Reasons to be cheerful, parts 1-3". If my own output has any redeeming feature, it's the origin of the form.

There once was a writer named Enright
Who might have emerged from a fair* fight
A bit bloody, but still
Crowned the queen of the hill
When it comes to mankind’s sucky plight.

* From what you say, she'd beat live zeitgeist meisters, too.


Luckngrace I like your review better than the book. If you wanted to extend the competition to the USA, I'd suggest you add Cormac McCarthy, award winner extraordinaire. He pushed me toward suicide almost as far as Enright.


back to top