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The Forgotten Waltz: A Novel Paperback – April 2, 2012

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; Reprint edition (April 2, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393342581
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393342581
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.6 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #627,103 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


“In rueful, witty, unpredictable and compassionate prose, Enright gives expression to subtle, affecting shades of human interaction.” (starred review - Kirkus Reviews)

“A breathtaking work that will surprise you.” (starred review - Library Journal)

“A gorgeous critique of Ireland as the Celtic Tiger draws its dying breaths . . . [A] masterful and deeply satisfying novel.” (starred review - Publishers Weekly)

About the Author

Anne Enright is the author of two volumes of stories and four novels including The Gathering, which won the Man Booker Prize, and The Forgotten Waltz. She lives in Dublin, Ireland.

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Customer Reviews

There is no character development.
Jamie Cantwell
Even after she has sex with Sean, she has nothing kind to say about him giving us no idea why she would want to have an affair with him.
I found this book to be very boring.
Rhoda Ross

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

48 of 54 people found the following review helpful By Bonnie Brody TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 11, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Anne Enright, author of the 2007 Booker Prize winner, The Gathering, has written a new novel called The Forgotten Waltz. It is told from the point of view of Gina Moynihan who has a lust-filled affair with a married man, Sean Vallely. They first meet at a garden party hosted by Anne's sister Fiona, and progresses from there. At first there are innocent (and not so innocent) looks, and then on a business trip in Switzerland, the affair begins in earnest.

When Gina first sees Sean at Fiona's garden party, she is happily married to her husband, Conor. There are no outward signs that there is trouble in the marriage and, as I read this book, I did not see the marriage and any shortcomings as a reason for the affair. Gina saw Sean, felt lust, and let her impulses prevail. Sean is married and has a child named Evie who, at the time that Gina first meets Sean, is four years old.

The novel is not told in any particular linear order. It is related to the reader in fragments of memory that Gina recalls. "So don't ask me when this happened or that happened. Before or after seems beside the point. As far as I was concerned, they were happening all along."

Always playing a key role is Evie, Sean's daughter. When she is five she begins to have childhood seizures that continue for many years. Annette, Sean's wife, is vigilant about Evie's medical care and appears not to notice that Sean is otherwise preoccupied with Gina. Evie, however, has the sense that something is happening in her home that is not quite normal. At one point, she even sees Sean and Gina kissing on the stairs of her home.

The novel takes place at the start of Ireland's economic boom in the nineties and progresses to the depressions that hits later on.
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Format: Paperback
Enright has written a beautifully, painfully honest novel of the train wreck of infidelity breached on the immutability of marriage. Set in Dublin, it begins innocently enough, eyes meeting across a garden. Years pass before Gina and Sean begin the long, passionate involvement that destroys both their marriages. Once engaged, neither has the desire to stop, entranced in a slow dance that obliterates everything else: "We fitted together our jigsaw love." Gina's narrative seduces, rationalizes the inevitability of this union, making the reader complicit in her obsession, her need for this flawed man who is exceptional perhaps only to her. This is the song of the other woman, one who appears helpless to resist the secret couplings, the falling away of spousal intimacy.

The jarring note in Gina's drama is the existence of Sean's child, Evie, a daughter with problems that cause her mother great anxiety, her father an excess of distraction: The fact that a child was involved made everything that much harder to forgive." Evie is as real as the affair that destroys two homes, casting a shadow on the right to claim happiness in a spoken-for other, a vague guilt in pleasurable stolen moments as Gina and Sean "pulled the sky down... to settle over us like a cloth". Enright writes seamlessly of conflict, internal and external, the emotional detritus of the breaking of vows. But she does so with great skill, the language of the heart impossible to map- or control as Gina and Sean veer towards each other and away from their families. Collateral damage.
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Susan on November 20, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I loved this book....up until the last chapter when I felt as if it ended so abruptly I actually thought there must have been an error in the printing, that the blank pages after the "About the Author" note were perhaps meant to have contained an epilogue. Sadly, they were just that: blank pages that left me feeling as if I'd been led up to a glorious mountainside only to be carelessly abandoned.

I'm simultaneously reading another book, a memoir in which the author's daughter is referenced as waving her arms in a circular motion while rolling her eyes, asking, "Point?". That is exactly how I pictured myself at the end of this otherwise artfully woven tale.

I was easily drawn into the narrative; how a chance meeting eventually impacted not just the lead character's life, but of course those around her as well. At the same time, I did find the author's frequent intergections of "I think"'s and "I mean's" to be a bit cloying after awhile. Yes, it was as if the character were telling me a story in real time, but I have friends who tell such yarns with so many intergections of "you know's" I soon tire of listening.

However, unlike some other reviewers, for the most part I enjoyed the texture of Enright's prose. The following entry, during the early part of the book, particularly resonated with me when she described the man with whom Gina, the first person character, becomes involved:"...a man who, in his Speedos, was not exactly a siren song. He stirred us up. Everything he said was funny and everything seemed to do you down. Or buoy you up. He could do that too.....Even in the strong sun, I was caught by the beauty of his eyes, which were larger than a man's should be and more easily hurt.
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