Published: London, Johnathon Cape 2007
Shortlisted: The Man Booker Prize 2007
Read: Late October 2007
Read: 18 October 2007
This book is harder to read than most, it jumps from a time to generation and from feeling to emotion, it is ever changing as ones memory would be. We don't when we recall the past remember it as a sequence of time, but rather events or triggers, which may or may not be in line with time. One part of the memory is triggered by a current thought and then in turn it sends other messages and conveys other stories of our past.
The Gathering is full of these, you delve into her memories, her stories, her thoughts (whether they be true or perceived) and are totally immersed in a world which is not yours but you are able to clearly view and relate to through her amazing ability to convey.
The journey however is not a fluffy pretty tale, she is on the verge of divorce and her brother has just died. She seeks answers and this is essentially the story of her finding them, and the awakening of the concious which she has past forgotten, but holds the key and answers to the now.
It is a powerful story, and when I finished this book, it roared in my head, I couldn't quieten it. It engulfed all my senses and sent them spinning. It is a must read for everyone.
Why then doesn't it score higher? because although this story is amazing, powerful, full, it also sucks at your core, questions your values and makes you revisit your own thoughts and feelings. It drains your emotion and I felt literally tired when I finished, and as I write this 6 months after its completion I still think about this book and remember its complexity, and that for me, in a world where a soft story is easily forgotten against the harshness of our everyday lives, is something I cherish. The books that I have rated higher are both powerful but leave me in a better state of mind for facing my own realities! :)