Monday, March 16

Book Review: The Gathering

Title: The Gathering

Author: Anne Enright

Pages: 261

Summary: A dazzling writer of international statue, Anne Enright is one of Irelands 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, 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 betrayal and redemption through three generations, she shows how memories warp and secrets fester. As in all Enright’s work, her distinctive intelligence twists the world a fraction, and gives it back to us in a new and unforgettable light.

My Rating: 6.5/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: The writing style of this book has this beautiful, lyrical poetic flow to it, that captures the reader from the start, Enright has done an amazing job at capturing the emotions and creating such real aspects of it, that pour out of the page. Her ability to show the level of grief of the family, the level of emotion, the level of their characteristics is amazing. Unfortunately, the protagonist is one, which I really disliked, she had her reasons for being the way she is, and she is very grief ridden, but the way she acts, her way of thinking just becomes so very un-likeable, it ruins the story at time, despite the wonderful style of writing. I don’t know much more to what I could say, the author has done an amazing job at capturing the Irish sprit, and at capturing the emotions in grief, family secrets, and the emotions of life in general, but I found the one character and her attitude, just ruined the story for me. I liked finding out more about the family, but the main character Veronica was a character that I couldn’t connect to or liked enough to like the story more. Again, a fantastic and beautiful flow and style of writing, truly stunning.

Would I recommend it to read:I would recommend this book. I think a lot would appreciate this style of writing, few modern authors can achieve this and the story is a good story, it’s just not what I expected from the characters. But others may be able to connect to Veronica more than I can. Either way, it’s worth reading, just a warning that the main character can be slightly frustrating and un-likeable at times.

What to read next: I'd try another book by Enright, and on Library Things Recommendations it says: On Chelsi Beach - Ian McEwan and The Sea - John Banville, to name a couple.

Challenges: 100+ Challenge, 999 Challenge, A - Z Challenge, New Author Challenge, RYOB Challenge


  1. I have a soft spot for really lyrical writing, but I may hold back on this book because of the unlikable main character. Which swayed you more, the quality of the writing, or the problems you had with protagonist? Just trying to figure out if I should give this one a shot.

  2. It might be worth giving it a shot, the other characters were alright, it was just a case of how she portrayed herself (character) she has reasons, but she was very "My life is so sad and horrible" but didn't attempt to fix things. Give it a try, if you don't like it, put it down :)

  3. I read this book a while ago. I pretty much agree with what you said, especially that the main character wasn't likable. I also didn't like how she talked about what may have happened and seemed to change her mind a lot.

    Diary of an Eccentric