Despite British bookmakers making the race between Ian McEwan's On Chesil Beach and Lloyd Jones' Miister Pip, Anne Enright has emerged victorious — unanimously — to win the 2007 Man Booker Prize for her fourth novel, The Gathering (272 pages, $14), published in the United States in September by Black Cat, a paperback original imprint of Grove Press...
Howard Davies, chairman of the Man Booker judges panel, calls the book "an unflinching look at a grieving family in tough and striking language."
I have not read The Gathering, but I'll take his and these U.S. reviewers' recommendations and put it on my ever-growing list of to-reads:
Publisher's Weekly: "In the taut latest from Enright, middle-aged Veronica Hegarty, the middle child in an Irish-Catholic family of nine, traces the aftermath of a tragedy that has claimed the life of rebellious elder brother Liam. ... A melancholic love and rage bubbles just beneath the surface of this Dublin clan, and Enright explores it unflinchingly."
Liesl Schillinger (New York Times Book Review): "Reckless intelligence, savage humor, slow revelation: Anne Enright's fiction is jet dark — but how it glitters...Bringing together the skills she has honed along the way, Enright carries off her illusion without props of dei ex machina, bravely engaging with the carnival horrors of everyday life."
Stephen Delaney (San Francisco Chronicle): "Enright shows herself to be a clear-eyed investigator of the human condition, driven to pursue hard truths."
Tim Rutten (Los Angeles Times): "Enright has written a wonderfully elegant and unsparing novel that takes the old Irish subjects of family dysfunction and the vagaries of memory into territory made fresh by an objectivity so precise it seems almost loving in its care."
The 45-year-old Enright is the second Irish woman to win the prize (the first was Iris Murdoch in 1978). Fellow countrymen Roddy Doyle and John Banville also won, in 1993 and 2005 respectively.
Enright's three previous novels are: The Wig My Father Wore, What Are You Like? and The Pleasure of Eliza Lynch.