Isobelle Carmody Reviews: The Gathering

Review by KaylanR. Back to all Isobelle Carmody Book Reviews [hr][/hr]
"Do you believe in good and evil, Mum?" I asked... "...I mean evil as a sort of force that you could fight." She frowned. "Evil and good are potentials in all of us. You have a choice whether or not to be evil because you can choose not to do evil things.... Sometimes it might be tempting to do a bad thing and if you resist then that's fighting evil. But a force outside human beings?" She shook her head. ...It was just the sort of explanation an adult would have. My mother could only see evil in a mundane way, like stealing or lying or cheating on your income tax could see things that adults couldn't because they weren't hampered by ideas of the way things ought to be.
The dark side of human nature is effortlessly illustrated in Isobelle Carmody's The Gathering. The GatheringNathanial Delaney has unwillingly moved to Chesthunt , a small town with big secrets. A simple teenage boy, with a bit of a Hamlet complex and social ineptitude, he is intriguing because of the intricacy of his character, as he has a talent for contradicting himself and raising more questions about his personality, rather than providing answers. Instantly disliking the small seaside community, and developing a distaste for the stench of the nearby abattoir, Nathaniel is enrolled in the local school, Three North High. After declining the invitation to join the school youth group, The Gathering, he stumbles upon a meeting of local students, who call themselves The Chain, and have collectively come together to fight back against ‘the dark’ in Chesthunt, headed by Mr. Karl, the school principal. Though somewhat cynical of the mystery surrounding Chesthunt, in time Nathanial comes to realise that ‘the dark’ is all around him, and his discoveries lead to uncovering the history of Chesthunt, and the parallels between past and present events. The novel deals with themes such as good versus evil, the depiction and inherent nature of evil, existentialism, nihilism, fascism, and the battling of one’s own demons in order to survive. With incongruent elements of fantasy and social realism, it creates an almost challenging atmosphere of ideas and philosophies concerning the dark nature of human society. As Nathaniel learns more about The Gathering and ‘the dark’, he also learns more about himself and his role in The Chain, preparing him for the epic showdown of Light versus Dark. An unputdownable novel that does not wholly rely on plot and atmospheric suspense, The Gathering is a success because of Nathaniel’s authentication and intriguing character, and the fact that it is a literary achievement on all accounts. Dealing with societal problems recognisable and the understandable and wholly unpredictable nature of evil in the world, it is a novel for all Carmody fans. [hr][/hr] Back to all Isobelle Carmody Book Reviews