The first-ever winner of the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction was announced at American Library Association Annual Conference in Anaheim on Sunday, June 24.
THE FORGOTTEN WALTZ by Anne Enright
Although the story of an affair is certainly not an uncommon theme in fiction, for the reader to be so engrossed in such a tale by the writing style alone is a less-common situation. But in fairness, in balance, this stunning novel by a Booker Prize winner (for The Gathering, 2007) also offers up its brilliance by way of astonishingly effective storytelling. The setting is the author’s native Ireland, which, ironically, because of the immaculate presentation of story and character, almost doesn’t matter. Gina is married, holds a professional business position, and is now recalling an obsessive, selfish, and problem-riddled affair with the equally married Sean. Enright suitably constructs her narrative to reflect the natural tendency of a person to remember events not necessarily in strict chronological order but in fits and starts and with backtracking and flash-forwarding, and only, eventually concluding at the end. The vicissitudes of extramarital love and the obstructions to its smooth flow—including spouses, children, and the very clandestineness of the relationship—are tracked by Enright with a raw clarity expressed in magnetically precise prose. The tension in the narrator’s voice serves as the dramatic tension of the novel itself, irresistibly drawing the reader through these at-once gorgeous and ache-filled pages.
REVIEW from BOOKLIST, July 2011 – – – – BOOKLIST is a periodical for librarians that reviews newly published books.
THE FORGOTTEN WALTZ is available in the ESTEC library.