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The forgotten waltz

“We talked about his wife – because that is the thing about stolen love, it is important to know who it is you are stealing from”

The Forgotten Waltz ~ Anne Enright

Ever thought about cheating on your partner? Well, who hasn’t? I’m only kidding. Yeah, let’s go with that.

One thing that this book is, above everything else is that it’s devastating. Devastating because it reveals and then revels in the way we destroy our own lives. Devastating also because it is written by Anne Enright who uses words and strings together sentences like she was chatting with you at your coffee table. Also, because the book had very many expectations to live up to.

In a nutshell, there is this one Irish woman in her thirties who is seemingly happily married and then falls in love with a charming menace of a married man. Who by the way has a daughter who suffers from epilepsy, which just makes the whole thing a lot sadder. More than anything else though, the story is about guilt and the politics of married life.

There are too many things that are right and wrong about the book. On the one hand, the book from the point of view of the “other woman” is illuminating. It is, of course, a literary novel, written so well and so precisely that you forget sometimes that there is even a story. Of course, as with all of Enright’s writing – there are parts in the book that are just laugh out loud funny.

My problem with the book was however more of a personal kind. It’s not you Anne Enright, it’s me. I am beginning to grow furious with first person narratives, the ME ME ME angers me and I need a breather from it every few pages. The title of the book and the song titles in every chapter got to me as well. The sentimentality and melodrama of it all. Oh and also, if I remember correctly the basic plot of the story is revealed in the first chapter itself. What was the point of going on?

Why you should read it

  • Graceful writing on a rotten subject
  • The visual imagery. Oh man, the visual imagery!
  • Irishness

Why you shouldn’t read it

  • If Irishness isn’t your thing
  • If first person narrative isn’t your thing
  • I love Anne Enright but I’m going to say it anyway…the adulteress, the married lives the affair ruins, some more piling on with a sick child’s presence…I’ve read it before
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