Thursday, 26 February 2015

Anne Enright's The Gathering

No two people read the same book.

Apparently, each person can even have a completely different reaction at different times to the same book.
I had read this book several years back and was not overly impressed.  I picked it up one day during the holidays and it was like, presto, suddenly the words resonated and I couldn't put it down.

Anne Enright is an award winning Irish author.  This book of hers, The Gathering, won the Man Booker Prize in 2007.  The Hegarty family is gathering to mourn the loss of a brother.  All the aspects of going home, reuniting with siblings and extended family, the reliving of  memories, good and bad, are all explored. Lots of fodder there for a good tale.  But the story line is not the strength of this book for me; it is the unique turn of phrase and words given to Veronica, the sister who was closest to the dead brother, as she relays the narrative.  Certain passages meant enough to me that I made a copy.
It was not surprising when I mentioned this book to several people and received a ho hum response.  One person even said, "and don't tell me to read it again".
 So what can I say.  Some books just seem to be like either love them or hate them, I guess.

Meanwhile, this was my non-fiction read lately, Kate Hubbard's Serving Victoria, Life in the Royal Household.  Other than a few surprising facts, it was not really that insightful. Much attention was paid to the six people closest to the queen during her 63 year reign. This chronicle of their movements with the royals was a little tedious. It comes as no surprise that this queen and her family had enormous egos that had to be catered to by the servants closest to them; I guess, hence the title.
 Queen Victoria's stable of servants reached past the 300 mark and they would occasionally find people living in the house who were never hired and had no job there.  That's how many people were milling about the palace.  Many of the servants had under servants themselves; the layers reached all the way down to the royal rat killer who also had an assistant.  All of them horribly paid but well fed which in itself made it a desirable job for the times.
My interest in all things royal continues.  I don't know why.