November 11, 2008

Sip it Slowly

Some books are like a drug.  They make you greedy and hungry and lusting for more and more and you find yourself reading a few sentences during the commercials of "Jon & Kate Plus 8" or in those few minutes before dinnertime or as you wait for a friend to meet you at the mall.  

This book is not that.

It is addictive, oh yes, quite compelling, but in a way that makes you want to slow down and savor it.  You want to sip it and pause and then move on.  The writing is just so good - so incredibly good - good in that way that makes you doubt all of your own writerly inclinations and throw up your hands in surrender because you will never ever be in even close to the same creative literary caliber as Anne Enright - that you slow down and take your time.  

And that's what I did with The Gathering.

I was just a wee teensy bit obsessed with this book.  You may perhaps have noticed from the, oh, I don't know, fifty bazillion quotes that I felt the need to post over the past few weeks (ok, fine, it was only eight, but that's only because I was exerting self control and felt ridiculous that I was quoting every other page).  

But truly, this writing was divine.  So personal and complex and crafted and.... I could just go on and on with adjectives that are worthless because, well, Anne Enright didn't write them.  

And let it be said that this book cover did NOT entice me.  Nor did the description on the back cover.  Whoever wrote that should reconsider their profession.  Because, when I read the back of the book I thought ew, this sounds rather dull and boring and horrid.  And then I read the first page and was blown away.  

So please, look past the simple little title, and dull description, and kind of mellow cover illustration, and just start reading.  

The book is told from the perspective of a forty-something woman grappling with her brother's recent death.  (That's the plot in a nutshell, and sounds about as enticing as the book's actual description).  However, you get a real look into this woman's psyche as she jumps back and forth through generations of her large Irish family in an attempt to make sense of this catastrophic event.

I'll just stop trying to summarize because it all sounds snooze-worthy.

I also must say, Mama read the first ten pages of this book before I did, and loathed them.  I mean, really disliked the book.  She sat on the couch for days and days trying to force herself to read a page or two, and finally gave up at my insistence, because I couldn't stand to see her look so horrendously pained.  

Then I start the book and immediately am in love with this genius Anne Enright and her literary prowess and am giving Mama little arched-eyebrow glances wondering how in the world did she not love love love this masterpiece?  

So, of course, to each his own.  I'm sure many people have started this book and dozed off and decided it was much better as a pillow.  And that is fine.  I've thrown many a Pulitzer Prize winner away in disgust.

However, I found The Gathering to be divine, and will make it a point to read more of Ms. Enright, if only to soak up that diction and those descriptions and that perfectly organized mental chaos.


Amy said...

This is her 4th book out in the United States, and she has a new collection of stories (making it 5) just published. Yesterday's Weather is the new one.

Glad you enjoyed the book!

Amy at Grove/Atlantic/Black Cat

The Sassy Kathy said...

Thanks for your comment Amy - I'll certainly be reading more of Ms. Enright's work. She is fabulous. Thanks for stopping by!