The Forgotten Waltz by Anne Enright

The Forgotten Waltz by
Hardcover, 230 pages
The Forgotten Waltz
Rating: 10/10


Maybe if Seán hadn't turned around, in that one moment, he never would have caught Gina Moynihan's eye and changed the courses of their lives. The Forgotten Waltz is the story of an affair, two marriages, and a child affected by all the actions of the adults in her life. Through the eyes of Gina, we see the lust, doubt, longing, and questioning of a relationship born of other people's heartache.

Reason for Reading

Loved Booker Prize winner The Gathering; was hearing chat around Twitter that this one was amazing.

Why you should read this book

Whether she's pulling and stretching out an incident for emphasis or packing a month's worth of drama into a single succinct and perfectly conveyed sentence, Enright knows exactly what she wants to shake out of every word in this book. As in real life, no one is entirely worthy of straight sympathy or blame. Far from being an awestruck, fated love story, there are moments where even the reader doubts that this man is worthy of disrupting Gina's marriage, before Enright turns and reminds us of the dizzying thrill of lust. The realism of the characters melds perfectly into Enright's beautifully written prose, not necessarily leaving the reader with answers, but at least with a sense of understanding. A must-read for lovers of contemporary fiction.

Why you should avoid this book

This is a book you read for how well the characters are written, not for the plot. We all know how the basic story of an affair goes - the interest lies in Enright's particular telling of an affair.

Opening Paragraph

If it hadn't been for the child then none of this might have happened, but the fact that a child was involved made everything that much harder to forgive. Not that there is anything to forgive, of course, but the fact that a child was mixed up in it all made us feel that there was no going back; that it mattered. The fact that a child was affected meant we had to face ourselves properly, we had to follow through.

Fabulous quotes

She was there for four or five weeks with the kids while Shay came down when he could - which was to say, when it suited him. You have to understand that Shay was coining it at the time, so not only did they have a house practically in the country, which is to say in Enniskerry, but a few miles away, thirty minutes in the car, they had a site in a posh mobile home park by the sea. This was - I don't know - a hundred, two hundred grand's worth of tat on a caravan site by the beach. It is not something I would normally be jealous of, except that I didn't have two hundred grand to throw around like that, and nothing makes you jealous like something you didn't actually want in the first place.
In my absence, the party had shifted up a gear. You can never catch the moment when it happens, but it always does: that split second when awkwardness flowers into intimacy. This is my favourite time. Those who were drinking had drunk too much, and the ones who were driving ceased to matter.

Also by

The Portable Virgin; The Wig My Father Wore; What Are You Like?; The Pleasure of Eliza Lynch; The Gathering; Yesterday's Weather; Making Babies.

Fun Tidbit

Enright worked in television as a producer and director until she had a breakdown in 1993, quit, and started writing novels.

Would I read more by ?

There are definitely more Anne Enright novels in my future.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *