This is an odd little novel, but not without a certain allure. It tells the story of Gina, a middle-class Irish professional who leaves a loving husband to carry on an affair with the married Sean, another middle-class professional she meets through work. Gina and Sean and their circle of family and friends are utterly ordinary and not glamorous in any way, which is part of the novel's originality. It doesn't conform to any expectations we may have about the subject of extramarital affairs. There's no highstrung drama, stormy confrontations, or obsessive behavior. There's only ordinary people being attracted to each other without knowing why, and an ever-present sense of the essential mystery at the core of every relationship and indeed, every individual. Gina is not a know-it-all narrator who reveals to the reader in perfectly composed paragraphs everything about her motivations. Instead the novel reads like extracts from her journal, introspective reflections and ruminations that leave much unsaid and unexplained. Particularly powerful is how Gina experiences the constant insecurity of being the other woman, an insecurity about where and how she fits into her paramour's life. Towards the end of the novel the writing focuses on Evie, Sean's only child who suffered epilepsy when she was younger. Here the writing beautifully captures Gina's confused feelings toward Evie, alternating between annoyance, jealousy, and even love. I think "The Forgotten Waltz" is only nominally about an ordinary woman having an affair with an undistinguished married man. Its originality is in how it renders the interior life and memories of a woman baffled by her own behavior yet acutely attuned to her feelings.
This novel was truly forgettable, self absorbed and mundane. I wonder what unique insight the author was trying to offer the readers, or what aesthetic resonance she was aiming to achieve? Nor, having no cultural connection to Ireland or its people, did I acquired any sympathy for the bursting of the economic bubble which is part of the background of the story. It is worth a quick read but don’t look for too much comfort in the plot or the art.
2012 winner of the Andrew Carnegie Award for excellence in literature
a nice, subtle read about the emotions and self absorbtions that lead one to infidelity and, in my observation, accepting the mundane brings satisfaction. Insightful observations of unlikeable, but real characters, and what true love, that of Sean for Evie) looks like.
A confusing style that is not amusing or enlightening and prevents one from wanting to dig into this uninteresting story. A book that deserves speed reading at best.
Anne Enright is a beautiful writer; I'd read anything she wrote. Though The Gathering's story captured my interest more than this book, I enjoyed her fluid, insightful writing.
A breezy easily read book. Thank goodness, as none of the characters interested me, What was the point of writing it, I wonder.
Shortlisted for the 2012 Orange Prize.
This book is the story of an affair, set in contemporary Ireland. It was quite funny. I liked the main character - she was sophisticated and knew herself.
Voice is a somewhat nebulous characteristic of print. In both of Enright's novels it is audible; it is the Midas touch that adds luster to every page. In The Forgotten Waltz it elevates a somewhat ordinary story of love and choice, responsibility and passion to something fresh and gives it a significance beyond the music of her prose. Told largely as a flashback that recreates her affair with a married man, Gina Moynihan leads the reader through the (snow) storm of her emotions to the almost brutal reality of the collateral damage she has wrought. It is hard not to love her, impossible not to feel her pain. This is a short book that could be gobbled in a few big bites; it deserves to be savoured.
Couldn't disagree more with last two readers. How does anyone write about that well roasted chestnut betrayal and get away with it? Enright does. Not only does she relate Gina's rush into betrayal with recognizably detailed self-absorption, she casts Ireland's recent economic bubble in considered relief as well. Three chapters in and I hated her for her canny insights and throw away brilliance.
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