The Gathering by Anne Enright – Book Review

Wow, this is a tough book. It’s tough to even attempt to summarise, but here goes: Veronica is one of a family of twelve siblings, and her closest, Liam, has just passed away. Veronica has to take on the arrangements for his funeral because the father is no longer around, the mother is “mentally absent” after twelve births and seven miscarriages and she is the one it is left to. As she does this, she reveals that as a child, she witnessed Liam being sexually abused, but never did anything about this (not really understanding what she saw) and has carried this guilt for years.

And there is a lot more to this. The narrator is angry, and holds this anger against everyone in her life – her husband, her family, her past. It’s a strange kind of beautiful – Enright’s writing is wonderful, at times hilarious even whilst being tragic and painful, but it is not for everyone. It’s not a book I think you can enjoy, but it is certainly a book that you can appreciate.

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