Winner of the Man Booker Prize 2007
The nine surviving children of the Hegarty clan gather 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. His sister Veronica was there then, as she is now: keeping the dead man company, just for another little while.
The Gathering is a family epic, condensed and clarified through the remarkable lens of Anne Enright’s unblinking eye. It is also a sexual history: tracing the line of hurt and redemption through three generations – starting with the grandmother, Ada Merriman – showing how memories warp and family secrets fester. 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.
The Gathering sends fresh blood through the Irish literary tradition, combining the lyricism of the old with the shock of the new. As in all Anne Enright’s work, fiction and non-fiction, this is a book of daring, wit and insight: her distinctive intelligence twisting the world a fraction, and giving it back to us in a new and unforgettable light.
“It is clearly the product of a remarkable intelligence, combined with a gift for observation and deduction”
A. L. Kennedy, Guardian
“She beautifully describes the way hurt can be inherited... Enright is a daring writer - witty, original and inventive... Utterly compelling”
Eithne Farry, Daily Mail
“A welcome return, for this writer, to novel form, and as a fresh, sophisticated take on the ever-popular dysfunctional family saga”
Eve Patten, Irish Times
“Anne Enright has all she needs in terms of imagination and technique and she's a tremendous phrase maker”
Adam Mars-Jones, Observer
“Enright ambushes as memory does, drawing you into an event and then questioning it's reality”
“At a time when everyone is mirroring everyone else, Enright's style of writing remains singular and instantly identifiable”