Brilliant, understated style

2011-08-17 00:00

ANNE Enright is a previous Man Booker Prize winner, so one expects to read something above average from her. At first I wasn’t too sure that The Forgotten Waltz was ­delivering as much as Enright’s ­reputation promises. Was Gina’s story about her ­romantic involvement with a married man, even though she is married herself, not just a Mills and Boons Romance with the covers ripped off? Enright’s ­understated style is brilliant even when the reader suspects that Gina, the love-sick heroine of the story, is nothing more than a lust-driven self-obsessed young woman.

Gina is married to a robust and uncomplicated man, Conor, when she first meets Sean Vallely. She finds him unremarkable until a ­minor interaction with his nine-year old daughter intrigues her. He and his wife fuss over the girl, who seems larger than other children her age. A few more meetings make Gina even more aware of the wiry middle-aged man, until he comes to work at her company as a consultant. Suddenly, their closeness sparks ­an ­irresistible attraction, which can only end in bed.

Gina ­becomes obsessed with Sean, even driving to his house and watching his family going through its nightly rituals.

Gina’s mother dies suddenly. Gina moves into her home, leaving Conor without much explanation. Sean stays over with her more often, and is finally brave enough to move in more or less permanently. Gina can’t understand his obsession with his daughter. To her he seems overly concerned with her welfare. It is ­only when she learns that the child has epilepsy that she begins to understand his need not to let his daughter down. She also begins to understand his need for her, Gina.

This is a subtly told story, which is more than a Mills and Boon with its cover ripped off. It’s an accomplished portrait of the ways in which a child’s illness can change the very fabric of a family.


The Forgotten Waltz

Anne Enright.

Jonathan Cape

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.