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Mixed feelings on "The Gathering"

Now I know awards are by their nature deeply flawed. Ridiculous. Subjective. Pointless. Crash wins the Oscar over Brokeback Mountain. Geoffrey Rush in the regrettable Shine wins Best Actor over Ralph Fiennes in The English Patient, which everyone knows is the BEST MOVIE EVER MADE IN THE HISTORY OF MANKIND. Grossly - and I do mean grossly - overrated Amy Winehouse gets a Grammy nom, and Springsteen doesn't. Did the voters not hear Girls in Their Summer Clothes? Do they really think trashiness and tattoos translate into actual skill?

Ralph Which brings us to Anne Enright's The Gathering, which won the Man Booker Prize this year. The novel explores the dark secrets of an Irish family - three siblings now dead, nine remaining - slowly reuniting for the funeral of a troubled brother. The narrator, mother of two, is still embittered by her parents' relentless procreation, which left the family crammed in a home too small. Her perspective is intriguing; usually we read about the joys of a being part of a large family. The Hegartys, however, are not ones to celebrate much of anything.

But once revealed, the secret - which occurs when the narrator is 8 and her dead brother Liam 9 - is predictable, almost a cliche these days. Unfortunate. I don't want to give away more, but is this truly the best the Booker could do? When Martin Amis' House of Meetings didn't even get shortlisted?

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Yo Connie --

You are SO right on about Ralph Fiennes getting screwed out of the best actor Oscar. And anybody who knows anything knows about movies knows that The English Patient is right up there with the all-time greats. Even I know it (and I'm of the masculine persuasion).

But quit your whining. The film won nine -- count 'em, nine -- Oscars including best picture. You can't win 'em all.

Connie

Yeah, it's really time to move on with my life, isn't it?!

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