The Gathering by Anne Enright won the Booker Prize in 2007. The novel is about family relationships, grief, and memory. Veronica comes from a large family of 12 siblings (plus several stillbirths). Her closest brother Liam has just committed suicide, and as she deals with her grief about losing her brother, the event dredges up some fairly shocking childhood memories. Soon she doesn’t know how she feels about either of her families — either her childhood family or even her husband and children.
The language and scenes are shocking and graphic. The subject matter is dark and depressing. Normally, I would have predicted that I would have hated this book, and I can see why many don’t like it. But, Enright’s writing drew me in. Veronica’s voice is so brutally honest it cut through me. Definitely not for everyone, but it’s a book you think about long after you’ve finished it, and in my mind, that’s the mark of a good one.
2007, 261 pp.