Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Anne Enright wins the Booker

I was writing a review of The Gathering last night, and kept deleting the Man Booker reference because I didn't want to say "shortlisted" in case Enright went on to win the Prize. Finally, I decided not to wait and sent the review without any reference to the Prize. Bad decision! Enright grabbed the Booker in London on Tuesday night. I liked the book. It's honest and deeply personal. Not everyone will find it up their alley though. As Enright said, "My book is the equivalent of a Hollywood weepie."

Because of exclusivity commitments, I cannot post the review right away, but here is a teaser:

Veronica Hegarty is passing through the aftermath of her beloved brother Liam’s death by suicide. Liam, a struggling alcoholic, walked into sea at Brighton with rocks in his pockets (strangely reminiscent of Virginia Woolf’s death). But that is not the point of the story, neither is it the “gathering” of the large Hegarty family for the funeral, though they are important events in the timeline.

Rather, it is the personal, the intimate, the shattering revelations of love and betrayal that form the backdrop here. The book encapsulates very little by way of plot, yet the sights and sounds within Veronica’s mind create a smorgasbord of emotions, whose template is brilliantly weaved by Enright.

Liam, the enigmatic: merciless in love, magnanimous in doling largesse. Indeed, he comes across as a stock left-liberal, gone to waste against an incompatible world. It’s interesting how Enright looks through the glass into many of our times’ preoccupations: materialism, denunciation, the battle of good and evil, and offers a uniquely inverted view on these.

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