The Gathering by Anne Enright was originally published in 2007 and is the recipient of the Man Booker prize for 2007. My paperback copy has 261 pages. Where to begin... self-indulgent, disappointing, overwrought, and, well, annoying. Sorry, I enjoy reading about dysfunctional families as much as the next person but this wasn't worth my time. Prize winner or not, I can't recommend The Gathering. It's receiving a so-so rating of 2 simply because Enright can write and it seems the reviews are either like or dislike.
Synopsis from back cover:
A dazzling writer of international stature, Anne Enright is one of Ireland’s most singular voices. Now she delivers The Gathering, a moving, evocative portrait of a large Irish family haunted by the past. The nine surviving children of the Hegarty clan are gathering in Dublin for the wake of their wayward brother, Liam, who drowned in the sea. His sister, Veronica, collects the body and keeps the dead man company, guarding the secret she shares with him—something that happened in their grandmother’s house in the winter of 1968. As Enright traces the line of betrayal and redemption through three generations, she shows how memories warp and secrets fester. As in all of Enright's work, her distinctive intelligence twists the world a fraction and gives it back to us in a new and unforgettable light.
"I would like to write down what happened in my grandmother's house the summer I was eight or nine, but I am not sure it really did happen. I need to bear witness to an uncertain event." pg. 1
"There is always one child who is able, not just to look, but also to see. The quiet one." pg. 4
"There is nothing as tentative as an old woman's touch; as loving or as horrible." pg. 17
"She did not realize that every choice is fatal. For a woman like Ada, every choice is an error, as soon as it is made." pg. 110