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Reader’s Den

The Reader's Den: "The Gathering" by Anne Enright

Continuing on with our discussion of Enright's novel, consider this quote from page 164. "There was great privacy in a big family... no one ever pitied you or loved you a little."

Coming from a large Irish American family myself, I focused a lot on Enright's Irish family dynamics. I found a lot of the writing rang true, although The Gathering is a novel, not autobiographical. Hegarty family events are remembered differently depending on who is relating the tale, certain subjects are off limits and not talked about for reasons that are not easily articulated, emotions run deep. Luckily my family has not had to deal with a tragedy such as Veronica's family has, but I related to the dynamics nonetheless. Perhaps this is why the book resonated with me.

Here are a couple more discussion questions to think about:

Veronica's mother, detached and emotionally absent, cemented a sibling bond because they had to tip toe around her. How is her relationship with her own daughters different?

According to Veronica, her brother "Liam’s fate was written in his bones" (p.163). Judging by the guilt she seems to feel about what happened between Nugent and Liam, does she believe that his fate was set in motion by that incident?


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