Saturday, May 15, 2010

The Gathering - Anne Enright

the gathering
anne enright
c. 2007
261 pages
completed 5/15/2010

read for: tbr challenge, 1001 books

*may contain spoilers*

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 if it really did happen.

After the death of their brother Liam, the remaining nine Hegarty siblings gather together at their childhood home for his wake and funeral. Veronica, Liam's closest sibling, thinks back on their lives, and the lives of their grandparents, in order to understand what has led to this event.

Okay, this may be a little bit of a crass description, but I don't really enjoy "grief books." I can't remember where I heard about this book or why it was added to my list, but I think I was under the impression that the death of Liam and his subsequent wake and funeral was just a stepping off point and really the book was more about a deep dark family secret. I like deep dark family secrets. However, the secret wasn't even really mentioned (other than the very first sentence) until about two thirds of the way through the book. And even then it was kind of skirted around and contradicted. We had a somewhat unreliable narrator (she kept admitting that some of her memories were stolen from her sister). So instead of focusing on the deep dark family secret, we had Veronica dealing with her grief. And that was something I was not interested in. I feel I should clarify a bit...I don't mind when there is grief within a book, but I don't like "grief books" where the sole point of the book is to witness people deal with grief. For me, I need there to be more. And sadly for me, that was not the point of this book.

I'm also not a big fan of books that aren't linear. I think I've mentioned this before on multiple occasions. I mean, there are exceptions, but this was all over the place chronologically. Sometimes we were with the grandmother before she was married, sometimes we were with Veronica picking up the body for the funeral, sometimes we were with Veronica and Liam in college, sometimes we were after the funeral...and it was just too much. I'm a fan of chronological order. Some people are great with nonlinear things, but it's just not for me.

I kind of feel bad that I'm just dissing this book. I think it's obviously a "good" book, and other people who enjoy the things that I do not would get a lot out of it. It was just not for me.



Diane said...

This book has gotten so so ratings. It is on my TBR list for 2010, but I'm stalling...LOL Sorry is was just ok for you.

Veronica said...

Yeah, it definitely did not do it for me. I was a little disappointed.