Normally, a Booker Prize winner is just my flavour. So with great enthusiasm I started to read Anne Enright’s The Gathering. At first, I was a bit dissapointed. The book has a slow start and seems to go nowhere except to a predictable horrific event that must have been the thing that started all events eventually leading to the death of the main character’s brother. And even the predictable horrific event, finally reached somewhere halfway through, isn’t as horrific as you’d might expect. But then the story started to kick in. Being from a rather large family myself (I am the youngest of seven) I could very much relate to the feelings the main character has for her somewhat estranged family. You know their habits, their remarks and behaviour becomes predictable and everyone has found his part to play somewhere in his or her early twenties and has stuck to the literal text of the play. And although you’ve grown a bit apart, and sometimes there doesn’t seem much that binds you, you still love them with all your hart. You simply have no choice.
So the second part of the book turned my initial opinion of it upside down, and if you’re from a large family, just read this. It isn’t as strong a story as the movie Festen, but it just exactly tells you all the things you always knew, put jus couldn’t put your finger on