Man Booker Prize, Fiction, 2007
The nine surviving children of the Hegarty clan gather together 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.
Tracing the line of hurt and redemption through three generations, this is a novel about love and disappointment, about thwarted lust and limitless desire, and how our fate is written in the body, not in the stars.
"A fresh, sophisticated take on the ever-popular dysfunctional family saga." (The Irish Times)
"She beautifully describes the way hurt can be inherited....a daring writer-witty, original and inventive....Utterly compelling." ( Daily Mail)
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Family funerals reveal families to themselves
Death reveals Life
The funeral gathering
The Gathering by Ann Enright comes with considerable credentials. The novel won the Booker prize in 2007 and the Best Irish Novel in 2008. It is undoubtedly a novel of great distinction. The story concerns the gathering of all the family members to the funeral of their brother, an alcoholic who died by drowning. It touches on many themes which frequently recur in Ann Enright's novels of which this one was her fourth. The themes are family relationships, parenthood, the catholic faith and sexuality. It is quintessentially modern Ireland and the writing is given extraordinary vitality by the wonderful reading of Fiona Shaw. This combination is certainly one to watch for the future.
Not even worth 1/2 a star