List of Characters

Chronological order of Hegarty siblings:

Midge—died of cancer at forty-two, before Liam’s death.


Ernest—priest living in Peru.

Stevie—died at age two.



Liam—Liam, Veronica, and Kitty lived with grandmother.




Ivor—Ivor and Jem are twins.


Other chararacters:

Maureen—Veronica’s mother.

Ada—Veronica’s maternal grandmother.

Charlie Spillane—Ada’s husband.

Lambert Nugent—landlord of Ada’s house.

Brendan—Veronica’s uncle in a mental institution most of his life.

Michael Weiss—Veronica’s American boyfriend during college—she fantasizes about him, thinking if she had married him, she would have been happier.

Sarah—Liam’s girlfriend who shows up at the funeral.

Rowan—Sarah and Liam’s son.

Character Analysis

Veronica is the protagonist of The Gathering. She is the fifth youngest of twelve children and the one closest in age to her brother Liam, who has recently committed suicide.

Veronica is a problematic protagonist, however, as she is an unreliable narrator. She admits that her memories of the past may be distorted as many of those recollections are from her early childhood. Children, she knows, often see and remember things from a different perspective than an adult. Trauma also affects her recall. Veronica presents one version of an event and then, either immediately or some time later, provides a different version. Readers are not sure what exactly happened.

Veronica is distraught following the suicide of her brother Liam. As a result, she says things about her husband, her children, and her siblings that may not be completely true. Her reactions might be triggered by anger and frustration; emotions that can make a person lash out at someone who is close to him or her. Veronica is as honest as she can be in moment, but that moment might not be a very stable one.

While Veronica’s mental stability may be question, one positive aspect of her character is that she is not afraid to admit her failings. Neither is she concerned about saying things that might be held against her. She exposes all the raw elements of her thoughts, as if she has no filters in place to protect herself. She does not kowtow to her husband’s expectations of her. She walks out on him when she needs a break, leaving him to contend with their daughters. She goes to where she can to find answers or to scrounge up a little peace.

Peace is elusive for Veronica. Of all her siblings, Veronica is, or had been, closest to Liam, even though she admits that there were times when she did not like him. She holds inside of her a full range of emotions about her brother. She loved and admired him as an older...

(The entire section is 697 words.)