The Forgotten Waltz

Anne Enright

The Forgotten Waltz

In Terenure, a pleasant suburb of Dublin, in the winter of 2009, it has snowed. Gina Moynihan, girl about town, recalls the trail of lust and happenstance that brought her to fall for ‘the love of her life’, Seán Vallely. As the city outside comes to a halt, Gina remembers the days of their affair in one hotel room or another: long afternoons made blank by bliss and denial. Now, as the silent streets and the stillness and vertigo of the falling snow make the day luminous and full of possibility, Gina waits the arrival on her doorstep of Seán’s fragile, twelve-year-old daughter, Evie – the complication, and gravity, of this second life. 3.5 out of 5 based on 14 reviews
The Forgotten Waltz

Omniscore:

Classification Fiction
Genre General Fiction
Format Hardback
Pages 240
RRP £16.99
Date of Publication April 2011
ISBN 978-0224089036
Publisher Jonathan Cape
 

In Terenure, a pleasant suburb of Dublin, in the winter of 2009, it has snowed. Gina Moynihan, girl about town, recalls the trail of lust and happenstance that brought her to fall for ‘the love of her life’, Seán Vallely. As the city outside comes to a halt, Gina remembers the days of their affair in one hotel room or another: long afternoons made blank by bliss and denial. Now, as the silent streets and the stillness and vertigo of the falling snow make the day luminous and full of possibility, Gina waits the arrival on her doorstep of Seán’s fragile, twelve-year-old daughter, Evie – the complication, and gravity, of this second life.

Yesterday's Weather by Anne Enright

Reviews

The Independent on Sunday

Viv Groskop

... an achingly brilliant piece of writing on passion and delusion. Comparisons to Madame Bovary are not overblown, not because it is a wry, clever, philosophical take on adultery – although it is – but because it makes you re-evaluate everything a novel can be.

15/05/2011

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The Financial Times

Claire Kilroy

A book that leaves the reader crying “why?” is undoubtedly a powerful one. Enright has produced an important novel, a portrait of a young state trapped in a punitive aftermath, and as such, it can be viewed as the first major work of literature to reflect on the Irish comedown. It is also that rare thing: the literary page turner.

22/04/2011

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The Scotsman

Hannah McGill

This novel is such great company — its language so vivid and tough and funny, its metaphors so magically precise — that Gina's heart-versus-head dilemmas feel as if they were happening to a friend, and we empathise accordingly. The book's energy does flag a bit in its final section, when a new part of the story peters out. But that's a quibble largely based on having longed for a bit more story.

17/04/2011

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The Daily Telegraph

Edmund Gordon

Enright’s achievement in this book is not only a matter of cleverness, or of stylistic brilliance ... Her language never becomes a character in itself, but is always pressed into the service of her story. She has an eye for the perfect, human detail and is often very moving ... The novel’s only significant shortcoming is its lack of narrative tension.

28/04/2011

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The Los Angeles Times

Joy Press

The real magic is in Enright's prose, which burrows into characters like fingernails into skin, peeling back the hidden layers of ordinary interactions and momentary thoughts. Material that another writer might string across a whole book, Enright burns up in a page, like it's nothing, using it to create a jagged portrait of Dublin during the recent boom.

26/10/2011

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The New York Times

Francine Prose

Enright’s channeling of Gina’s interior monologue is so accurate and unsparing that reading her book is, at times, like eavesdropping on a very long, crazily intimate cellphone conversation. It’s a testament to the unwavering fierceness of Enright’s project that I mean this as high praise. We’ve all met people like the characters in her book. Neither evil nor good, they’re merely awful in entirely ordinary ways. And it’s impressive, how skillfully Anne Enright has gotten them on the page.

30/09/2012

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The Literary Review

Elspeth Barker

Unhappily we ... remain indifferent to all the characters but Gina. Where the novel compels is in the attendant disquisitions on memory and its rearrangements, both willed and unwilled; the blurring of boundaries, physical and temporal; the vivid presentation of all characters, major and minor; and its funny and forgiving comentary on middle-class aspirational family life in Ireland today.

01/05/2011

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The Spectator

D.J. Taylor

One of those densely recapitulative novels that seek to interpret emotional crack-up from the angle of its ground-down aftermath ... much of this is intensely ruminative, and the subject of its ruminations is, invariably, men.

07/05/2011

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The Evening Standard

Melanie McDonagh

The real pleasure of the book is the dancing, delicious prose; contemporary Irish speech and cadences captured and put on the page ... But the real interest of this novel, its relevance, is that it is a curiously exact picture of Ireland in the heady, mindless days before the Irish crash, and in the immediate aftermath.

28/04/2011

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The Guardian

Hermione Lee

... wry, disabused, reckless, candid, funny ... The context, and the object, of this sentimental intensity, is as unromantic as you can imagine ... The lover turns out to be a serial adulterer and not much of a person, after all, and that blank at the centre makes this a thinner book than The Pleasure of Eliza Lynch or The Gathering.

20/04/2011

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The Times

Tom Gatti

Gina is an acute observer, a master conjecturer, a scenesetter — but not a storyteller. And that is where, despite its tremendous attention to detail, both on the surface and in the murky depths, plot-junkies will struggle with The Forgotten Waltz ... The novel as a whole, though, is curiously unsatisfying. The zeitgeist-referencing becomes wearing.

30/04/2011

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The Independent

Susie Boyt

For a mildly discontented woman to be swept away by a passion for her sister's sexy neighbour – it's a cliché both in literature and in life, you might say. Yet the novel carries an awareness of this ... However, no kind of love is well served by thoughts of Mr Mills and Mr Boon ... writing of Enright's calibre deserved a stronger subject matter.

13/05/2011

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The New Statesman

Leo Robson

the fleeting confusions of Gina's monologue are irrelevant next to her creator's amazing ability to engage in lyric flights while keeping her feet on the ground, her way of returning to certain intimate details and of making jumpy little jokes, her habit of using colloquial phrasing to moor Grand Statements, and her rushing, exquisitely turned perceptions. There is a good deal less of this, and a good deal more of somewhat irritating habits, in the final hundred pages

01/01/1900

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The Sunday Times

Peter Kemp

The question most likely to engage any reader immersed in this blur of bemusement is why Enright has plunged them into it ... One obvious purpose the pervading opacity serves is that it tends to camouflage the clichéd nature of Gina’s love story. Behind the narrative haziness, Mills & Boon banalities throb.

24/04/2011

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