Monday, May 05, 2008

Curl Up With a Book - Or Not

Last night I finished The Gathering, by Anne Enright. Okay, it won the Man Booker Prize. Yes, Ms. Enright is a talented writer and I am jealous of her skill at picking precisely the best way to share her imagery. Still, I did not like this book. There, I said it. For all the skill and craftsmanship, I just didn't like the book. I felt robbed at the end. There was a tragedy (several of them, perhaps), but many families have those. Ms. Enright takes her readers on a convoluted trace through the memories and imaginings of her narrator as she follows the thread of her dead brother's life. At some point, I tired of the chase.

Maybe I am tainted by short attention span media or too pedestrian in my thoughts and cannot grasp lofty themes and artistic vision. Or maybe I want a book to have a plot and to actually answer the questions that are posed. Or I want characters who are consistent. I don't for a second believe that the narrator would come to the conclusions that she does at the very end. I feel cheated that there never was an explanation for or conclusion to the hints dropped about the narrator. Her brother's pain and suffering were explained, but not her own. There seemed to be too many dropped hints and loose threads.

Obviously, many reviewers think highly of this book. I am glad that they felt such enjoyment. I'll keep looking.

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