Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Gathering

It seems there are a couple of rules about winning the Man Booker Prize: the author, using the main character as a mouthpiece, must make incisive comments about the human condition. Also, it must be bloody depressing. I've read a few of them now, and they all follow that format. Particularly this one.

The Gathering, by Anne Enwright, tells the tale of a large Irish family through the eyes of Veronica, one of the younger children of the family, now an adult with her own children. It is about the death of her brother, Liam, and the family gathering for the funeral. She is haunted by her past, and even more so by the present, from which she is alienated and disconnected. It jumps between the past and present continually without being disorienting, and gradually reveals the history of the family, and how the ended up the way they are.

This novel doesn't quite kick you in the teeth like The White Tiger of Vernon God Little do, but it feels closer to reality, and the characters are rendered more subtly and delicately. If you don't mind a depressing read, this is a good one.

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