ANNE Enright has won Britain’s most prestigious literary award for her latest rollercoaster thrill-ride of a novel about some Irish people having a big talk about this and that.
The Gathering was a rank outsider for the Man Booker prize beating favourite Ian McEwan for On Chesil Beach, a short, intense novella about a couple discussing whether or not to switch to Sky+.
Enright said the award vindicated her decision to make the intangible nature of loss, the hollowness of betrayal and the emptiness of grief the central characters in her book.
Chair of the judges Sir Howard Davies said that while Enright’s book was not the longest this year, it must still have taken a good few days to write.
He said: “It contains at least four passages where people stare out the window and we get to hear their thoughts. I like those.
“And the opening scene, where the hollowness of betrayal chases the sanctity of memory through the backstreets of post-war Berlin, is brilliantly observed.”
He added: “Best of all was the bit where the intangible nature of loss and the emptiness of grief discover the dark secret at the heart of Christianity, buried beneath a Manhattan deli.”
Enright is already working on a follow-up where the emptiness of grief tracks down the rogue CIA agents who killed its father.