The Gathering by Anne Enright

The GatheringNot a cheery novel. The narrator is one of twelve children in an Irish family and her closest brother has just died of suicide. There is not much of a plot, more a description of the world of the family and their interconnections and reactions, their loving and hating. It is painful and often unpleasant, with detailed mentions of bodies and touch and aging. There are also, though, wonderful moments of writing – worth the reading. “Even my mother eats with a sudden greed, as if remembering how to do it.”

The progress of the book is through the days surrounding the funeral of the brother (“the gathering”) and of recollections of family history and secrets that may have led to his alcoholism and suicide.

It is very well-written, but a bit hard to get through.

Reviewed by Sue D.

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