By Anne Enright
2012 Winner of the Andrew Carnegie Award for Excellence in Literature
"This lovely novel via a Booker Prize winner . . . deals up its brilliance in terms of astonishingly potent storytelling."―Booklist, starred review
"A new, unapologetic type of adultery novel. Narrated by means of the proverbial different woman―Gina Moynihan, a pointy, attractive, darkly humorous thirtysomething IT worker―The Forgotten Waltz charts an extramarital affair from first stumble upon to prepared, settled, daily domesticity. . . . This novel’s attractiveness lies in Enright’s spare, poetic, off-kilter prose―at as soon as heartbreaking and subversively humorous. It’s equipped of startling little surprises and one clean sentence after one other. Enright captures the heady eroticism of an extramarital affair and the incendiary egomania that accompanies mystery ardour: For all their utter ordinariness, Sean and Gina suppose just like the maximum fanatics who have ever lived.”―Elle
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The house fitted Lego-like with its neighbour, which had the basement and split the middle floor, and this threw me a bit, the fact that it was only half a house until you went upstairs. It was like the place had suffered a stroke. Not that this was a problem, or at least not a problem you could identify. I just hadn’t expected it. And I still dream about this house, about walking up those steps and opening the front door. The day we moved in, Conor was inside in among the boxes, sitting at his laptop like a demented organist, cursing the internet connection.
There was, when we made love at the end of these long Saturdays, a sense in which we were reclaiming ourselves for ourselves, after some brief theft. You walk into a stranger’s house and it is exciting, that’s all, and you are slightly soiled by it. I could feel it, in the second-hand, abandoned kitchens, and in my Sunday-supplement dreams. I could feel it drain away in the moments after waking, when I realised that we hadn’t bought, we probably never would buy, a house with a sea view. It didn’t seem a lot to ask – a house that would clean your life every time you looked out of it – but it was, apparently.
I loved Conor then. I really did love him, and all the versions of him I had invented, in those houses, in my head, I loved them all. And I loved some essential thing too; the sense of him I carried around with me, which was confirmed each time I saw him, or a few strange seconds later. We knew each other. Our real life was in some shared head space; our bodies were just the places we used to play. Maybe that’s the way lovers should be – not these besotted, fuck-witted strangers that are myself and Seán, these actors in a bare room.