Sunday, 22 January 2012

Thoughts: The Gathering by Anne Enright

The plot of this book is a simple thing. Veronica Hegarty is under shock because her alcoholic brother Liam died. He went into the sea with stones in his pockets. His funeral gathers the remaining Hegarty children and embraces Veronica in the arms of her rambling sisters and brothers. Meanwhile a lot of dark and melancholic observations of past times and past places are intertwined in the story, which go back to the get-to-know of Veronica's grandparents Ada and Charly. Veronica does not know much about this get-to-know but her thoughts strive back to it again and again, each time making up a new detail about it. Her apparently normal life, which includes a husband and children, seems to get more distant with each thought. Veronica is haunted by her brothers ghost and the reasons for his miserable life, seeking refuge in alcohol. Soon it dawns her that she might know what the reasons for it were, what happened to her brother. But does it change anything now?

The Gathering is not about a preceding plot, it is rather about the complicated emotional life of the protagonist Veronica. While reading I came to understand that sometimes the action is interior, that means the change or movement inside a person, when someone beloved passes away or leaves. Though I understand that this kind of writing makes some of us uncomfortable, too much feelings and not enough storyline.

Anne Enright has a most singular voice. I thought it was remarkable how everything came to live once Enright wrote about it. And this is why the book is not a simple thing at all. It attempts to analyze the essentials of love and death and their particular fears, pains and pleasures.

1 comment:

  1. I read this book a few years ago and I struggled to connect with the characters. I later read Enright's Yesterday's Weather and enjoyed it more. You are right that Enright has a singular, remarkable voice.