2007: 190. The Gathering

“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 than it really did happen.”

The Gathering, Anne Enright

This book won the 2007 Booker prize, and I appreciate why it did.  It’s just a story of a family, the story of Veronica whose brother, Liam, committed suicide.  The novel deals with the aftermath of Liam’s death, and Veronica’s attempt to reconcile their lives (they were two of twelve), and their past growing up in Ireland in their too large family, and her comfortable middle class present.  And she thinks about Liam’s sad life and sadder end, and contemplates whether she knows what took him to where he ended up, whether the dark secret she thinks she remembers could have been the reason for his sad life.  It’s a novel about life and family, memory and how those things intertwine.  It’s a novel not so much about the plot than about the writing, the ideas, and the feelings.  It is the kind of book that wins the Booker, but it is also quite a good book.  It seems like its not about so much, but the more I think about it the more it stays with me.  I keep thinking about Veronica’s trying to figure out what happened, whether her memory was reliable, whether it was true, whether it even matters.  I find I don’t have so much to say about this book, not because it isn’t a good book, or not because there isn’t a lot too it, but just because I’m still figuring out what I think about it.  So, I recommend The Gathering, but I’ll leave it to you to figure out what it’s about.

Recommended for: People who like extremely well-written books about family and memory and life


Date/Place Completed: 12/20/07; D.C.

Categories: Fiction; Booker Prize


© Carrie Dunsmore 2017