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ClassicsOnline Home » ENRIGHT, A.: Gathering (The) (Unabridged)
The nine surviving children of the Hegarty clan gather in Dublin for the wake of their wayward brother Liam. It wasn’t the drink that killed him—although that certainly helped—it was what happened to him as a boy in his grandmother’s house, in the winter of 1968. His sister Veronica was there then, as she is now: keeping the dead man company, just for another little while. The Gathering is a family epic, condensed and clarified through the remarkable lens of Anne Enright’s unblinking eye. It is also a sexual history: tracing the line of hurt and redemption through three generations—starting with the grandmother, Ada Merriman—showing how memories warp and family secrets fester. This is a novel about love and disappointment, about thwarted lust and limitless desire, and how our fate is written sin the body, not in the stars.
Anne Enright is the fourth Irish author to be awarded the Man Booker Prize since its commencement in 1969: Iris Murdoch won in 1978 with The Sea, The Sea; Roddy Doyle with Paddy Clarke, Ha Ha Ha in 1993; and John Banville in 2005 with The Sea.
Although Enright was little known outside Ireland before receiving the prize, the judges’ decision was unanimous, and chairman Sir Howard Davies said that he and the rest of the panel (Wendy Cope, Giles Foden, Ruth Scurr and Imogen Stubbs) found that the book repaid re-reading. ‘Anne Enright has written a powerful, uncomfortable and, at times, angry book,’ said Davies. ‘The Gathering is an unflinching look at a grieving family in tough and striking language.’ Initially an outsider, the novel defied even the judges’ expectations to win the coveted prize.
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ENRIGHT, A.: Gathering (The) (Unabridged)