Monday, May 14, 2012

BOOK: The Forgotten Waltz by Anne Enright

The Forgotten Waltz by Anne Enright, 229 pages

Orange Prize Shortlist (2012); Ireland Reading Challenge; 2nds Challenge

I am one of the few people who enjoyed The Gathering, Enright's Man Booker Prize winning book back in 2007 (my review is here). Her writing matches the way my brain thinks, and I seem to relate to her female characters, even though they are not necessarily likable or that I've had their experiences. Something just really clicks for me.

In my absence, the party had shifted up a gear. You can never catch the moment when it happens, but it always does: that split second when awkwardness flowers into intimacy. This is my favorite time. Those who were drinking had drunk too much, and the ones who were driving had ceased to matter. p88

Here we have Gina, telling us how she ended up with Sean. It begins romantically enough, with her description of when she first saw him in her sister's garden. As the story progresses, it turns out they had an affair, breaking up the two marriages. Her backward story allows her to justify how it happened, how her marriage was falling apart.

We did not fight until New Year's Eve. I can't remember what triggered it. Money probably. We used to fight about money. His mother. I mean, tick the list. p72

The book is actually divided into three sections, each covering a major upheaval in the life of a thirty to forty year old: affair, death of parent, illness of child. And that may be part of what I related to; I know people who deal with all of these major stressful life occurrences. Gina was sad, making some terrible decisions, and then justifying them afterwards, but some people have sad lives and make bad decisions. Sean was no catch, which I think Gina eventually realized, but by then, so many live had been disrupted, she didn't feel she could change her mind. So sad.

Aileen's worry had become impossible. She had worried so hard and for so long, it had transcended itself and turned into a rapture of care. p 197

Evie was always a bit of a barreller, a lurcher; her elbows are very close to her unconscious. p 218 

Look at all the quote I noted. I can read many books and not pick out one phrase that resonates with me, but I found all these.This is the second of the short-listed books for the Orange Prize to be announced the end of May. I'd be happy with either this or Half-Blood Blues so far. That makes me two for two.