Fiachra, for example, ‘always knew’. He knew it before I did. ‘I am in love with him,’ I said, sitting in the back room of Ron Blacks after too many gin and tonics. And Fiachra waited a tiny, unforgivable moment, before he said:‘I am sure you are’.But it was the first time I had said the words out loud, and it might have been true all along but it became properly true then. True like something you have discovered. I loved him. Through all the shouting that followed, the silences, the gossip (an unbelievable amount of gossip) there was one thing I held on to, the idea, the fact, that I loved Sean Vallely and I held my head high, even as I glowed with shame. Glowed with it.I love him.
Saying that this novel is about an affair is like saying a home is about bricks and glass. That’s true enough, in a way, but it’s not getting any where near the substance within. I have never read writing like that of Anne Enright’s. It is powerful, and funny, and thought provoking all at the same time. I read ever so slowly to capture every phrase, and reread sentences or whole paragraphs over again, to contemplate their meaning which resonated deeply within me. She’ll write something profound in a long paragraph, and then bam! follow it with a single sentence as reinforcement.
The Forgotten Waltz is a story about an affair. About marriage. About a family whose child’s needs have divided the parents; or the parents’ needs which have divided the child, because who can tell, really, what was the cause and what was the effect? It is a story which makes us look at our parents, at our loves, and most importantly ourselves.
It makes us ask if we are willing to accept the responsibility for the choices we have made, and were they, after all, worth the cost?
I loved it.
Anne Enright is a critically-acclaimed, internationally-bestselling Irish author. She has published essays, short stories, a non-fiction book, and four novels, including The Gathering, which won the Man Booker Prize in 2007 and was named the 2008 Irish Novel of the Year. The Forgotten Waltz was published in October of this year.
Thank you to W. W. Norton & Company for sending me this book to review.