Archive for April, 2008|Monthly archive page

Caught up in The Gathering

I have just finished reading Anne Enright’s ‘The Gathering’. What a bloody marvellous book. My good friend Maxine told me it was the best book she’d read in decades and so off I trotted during my lunchbreak to buy a copy (with the WH Smith voucher I bought off Tall Boy – an unwanted gift at Christmas.) I have read it in two days flat – and that with work and family getting in the way – standing waiting for the kettle to boil, stirring spag bol in the pan and sat on the toilet (lid down) whilst curly boy is in the bath.

She writes with such embarassing honesty. Maxine said it was so good it almost made her want to give up writing, I do hope she won’t. For me, on the contrary, it made me rethink how I am writing. I am resolved to write as honestly too, no holding back, cut the gentility. I have no aged relations who may take offence at what I have written. She says stuff that all of us must think some of the time, or at least some of us think, some of the time, or at least wish we could think. She doesn’t bang on about being Irish (sorry Frank McCourt – loved Angela’s Ashes, but ) it is just who she is. I didn’t feel excluded from a special club, ‘well you’re not Irish..’ ‘ well you’re not Catholic..’ she deals with men and sex and marriage and children and love and grieving and held me in limbo along with Veronica, who waits for her brother’s body to be shipped back to Ireland. Memories floated around, tangled and confused, much as they do in my own family, ‘you weren’t even there,’ ‘that wasn’t Summer, that was Easter,’ ‘it was a blue car,’ ‘ we never even had a car when we lived there,’ you know how it goes. It made me cry like funerals of virtual strangers can make me cry, because I’m afraid next time it will be someone closer to home, and because I know one day it will be somone closer to home. It made me cry because on some days that’s exactly how I feel, except I’d never even get as far as Gatwick airport, I only get as far as wanting to run away. It made me cry because I run around being indispensable too, when actually if I stopped doing it, it wouldn’t matter at all, because most of it is pointless in the greater scheme of things.

And look what it’s done as well – I’m back blogging – can’t be bad – just had to have something worth sitting still to write about.