Radio contact is resumed – hello again. I have been on holiday for a month, back in New Zealand seeing family & friends and watching rugby. Of course I had good intentions of writing a pre holiday post with my reading plans but that idea flew out the window with the inevitable last minute rush. In all honesty, I am not the most organised person but the thought was there!
I did get to read a few books while I was away, on kindle. I’m a true kindle fan now when it comes to holidays and commuting although I’ll always love the feel and experience of reading an actual physical book.
It’s probably a topic for another time but a difference I notice with the kindle is my concept of time and history with the book I’m reading. I often like to flick back in a story to clarify the odd point and I much prefer to do this with actual pages. I have an idea of where in the timeline of the story the point occurred and often I’ll have a picture in mind of where on the page it was – for some reason I don’t have that with the kindle. I also like the feeling of knowing by the thickness and page numbers, where in the life of the story I am, 400 pages into a chunkster feels different somehow than 80% on the kindle.
Anyway, I digress (you can tell I haven’t posted for a while) – back on track, let me tell you about The Forgotten Waltz
Reading the first few chapters of The Forgotten Waltz is like meeting up with an old girl friend for an intimate catch up, having not seen each other for several months. A friend you know has had an affair which has turned her life upside down, but until now you don’t know any of the details.
The details are what the book is all about and it is a strength of Anne Enright’s writing that her central character can recall these details with such candidness on the one hand, and objectivity and insight on the other. There is also room for irony and humour at the totally self inflicted mess she has created.
The setting is Dublin in 2009, when the previously booming Irish economy is struggling with the recession. Gina and Connor, married and in their 20s have gone from being financially comfortable to now questioning if they can afford to have a baby.
At a family barbeque Gina meets her sister’s married neighbour Sean. The contact is fleeting and infact Sean doesn’t recall the meeting but for Gina there is a spark. Gina also meets Sean’s daughter Evie.
As we know at the beginning, things develop and the close knit circle of people involved are all deeply affected.
I lived in Dublin for a while a few years ago so I loved the references to various places around the city as well as the uniquely Irish sayings that naturally crop up in the conversations. The first half of the book was great, compelling and hard to put down.
The second half didn’t work for me although that didn’t stop me easily finishing it. I found it a bit slow and the level of detail for that phase of the story too much. There are historical family issues to deal with and Sean’s daughter Evie features a lot. These seemed peripheral to the main story to me but I’m not sure that was the authors intention.
I like the title – As easy as it was for Gina to brush aside her vows in the heady early days of the affair, she wouldn’t have the luxury of forgetting the consequences of that choice quite so easily.
2011, 240 pages