I’d like to state up front and unequivocally: Anne Enright is a brilliant writer. The Green Road is excellent, but The Gathering is overwrought and pretentious. It’s a hybrid of Gilead and Written on the Body with a curious fixation on genitalia. The book jacket makes it sound more interesting:
The nine surviving children of the Hegarty clan are gathering in Dublin for the wake of their wayward brother, Liam, drowned in the sea. His sister, Veronica, collects the body and keeps the dead man company, guarding the secret she shares with him—something that happened in their grandmother’s house in the winter of 1968. As Enright traces the line of betrayal and redemption through three generations, she shows how memories warp and secrets fester. As in all Enright’s work, her distinctive intelligence twists the world a fraction, and gives it back to us in a new unforgettable light.