Monday, November 26, 2007

THE GATHERING by Anne Enright (2006)

I heard Anne Enright interviewed at IFOA shortly after she was awarded this year's Booker Prize for THE GATHERING. She is spunky and unforgiving in conversation, suggesting to her interviewer that "surely only an eejit would ask that about my book." I warmed to her immediately because of her directness.

THE GATHERING chronicles the days surrounding the death of Liam Hegarty, the most wayward of the Hegarty children, as told by his older sister Veronica. That the family is dysfunctional is an understatement. Veronica shepherds the mourners who gather around her younger brother's corpse laid out in the front room of her mother's house, and tries to decide whether or not to reveal an awful truth about their shared past.

These lines from the opening chapter show you the beauty of Enright's prose:

"I wait for the kind of sense that dawn makes, when you have not slept. I stay downstairs while the family breathes above me and I write it down, I lay them out in nice sentences, all my clean, white bones"

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