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Gatherings: A Novel Hardcover – February 15, 1993

9 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This slight first novel attempts to chronicle the world of overprivileged youth in a sympathetic manner, but fails to generate interest in, much less concern for, the main characters. These include the narrator, Meredith, who describes her life from childhood with a rebellious mother through early adulthood as a student at Columbia University; and her cousins, the spoiled and thoroughly unlikable Pearce and Felicity, who plays the unenviable role of custodian to their emotionally unstable mother. Other members of this seemingly incompetent-at-life family come and go in a narrative that shuttles between the present and the past via flashbacks and reminiscences of earlier generations; the settings include posh tribal dwellings in South Carolina and on an island off the coast of Maine, as well as locations in Connecticut, New York and Washington State. The constant leaps from one place to another, from past to present, from one dysfunctional rich relative to some equally maladapted kin, are off-putting and confusing.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

The action in Rust's deftly written first novel centers around Meredith, a wealthy young woman who is trying to overcome a childhood spent in a dysfunctional family plagued by drug addiction, alcoholism, and insanity. Haunted by the untimely death of her mother, who deserted Meredith and her father, she shuttles between a South Carolina plantation and a Maine vacation home owned by her mother's family. She must in turn deal with her cousin Felicity and Felicity's brother Pearce, who have their own demons to conquer, including their uncle's mysterious suicide. As she contrasts Meredith's developing strength of character with the defeatism that threatens to destroy her family, the author's disjointed style of reminiscence and unresolved conversations serves the theme of adolescent trauma quite well. Recommended for general fiction collections.
- Harriet Gottfried, NYPL
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; 1st edition (February 15, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671703153
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671703158
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 5.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #884,555 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 1, 2001
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I figured this was a more appropriate title than "Gatherings". So much of this novel is a description of the places and things this family owns. Let me say that the author is a very talented writer, with wonderful ability to evoke images and scenes. But she squanders her talent on this silly idealization of the preppy life. You can practically hear her lock jaw in some passages. Also, the things I am really interested in, mainly the narrator's mother, who goes off the rails to become a damaged hippie, the author barely touches on, while the things I am not interested in, namely the character Pearce (a thorougly unlikable, effeminate character who seems locked in the closet for now), she delves into in tedious, pointless detail. I have high hopes for Marina Rust's future as an author of books, but I think one day she will see how young she was with this effort, in which we know more about the place settings than the characters' motivations.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By E. Lacey on December 31, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This first (and only, so far) novel by socialite and Vogue columnist Marina Rust tells the story of a wealthy family grappling with their demons: insanity, alcoholism and a lack of purpose.

The protagonist, Meredith, rejoins her extended family as a teenager, having spent most of her childhood with her eccentric mother in various communes and backwater towns. Her mother has since abandonded Meredith to her ex-husband and died. Meredith goes to Manhattan, where she falls into her extremely wealthy family's lifestyle. She shuffles between the Upper East Side apartment and the houses in Connecticut, Maine and South Carolina. She socializes with her cousins, the damaged Pearce and hardened Felicity. She settles naturally into a life of privilige. As Meredith researches her family's secrets (the suicide, the mental illness) she struggles to find purpose in her life.

This is the story of a family who has excesses of material wealth but not a lot of happiness or direction. However, Rust never asks you to feel sorry for them, only to look inside their heads for a moment and see the world as they see it. Her prose is spare and lovely and the melancholy pace of the story is appropriate. It's an interesting glimpse of a rarified world.

Having read Rust's articles in Vogue about her family and knowing a bit about their background, I think this is a pretty compelling take on that world. I hope that she's got another novel in her!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 5, 1997
Format: Hardcover
"Gatherings is an elegant, perfectly controlled novel. Marina Rust has a great sense of place, a great love of family, and a great future. Her prose style is sharp an impeccable." - Pat Conroy............ I'm looking at the back of the book, having just finished it. I borrowed a copy, and I have to give it back. I read it twice in one weekend. You've got to pay attention. It's a comedy, not a tragedy, which readers of Rust's columns in VOGUE will immediately realize. If you liked 'Emma', you'll like this. The trouble may be finding a copy...
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Ashlie on August 6, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I got this book from the library and fell in love with it's poetic writing and interesting relationships. I am disappointed that the first time author did not write more! The protagonist is both sympathetic and realistic, although her situations are not always so. I found this book so fascinating that I went through an extensive search to acquire a copy for my home library! If you can find it, it is worth it. I've read it five or six times over.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 8, 2000
Format: Hardcover
As a fan of Marina Rust's contributions to Vogue over the past several years, I was disappointed by this novel. It just isn't up to par with the rest of her work. I would think that a compilation of her Vogue articles would be a much better read.
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