Monthly Archives: June 2013

A Week in Winter by Maeve Binchy

The discussion opened with everyone agreeing that this book was definitely the easiest read so far; a comfort read with ends coming neatly together at the end.

For some members of the group, this was their first introduction to Binchy, whilst others were revisiting a favourite comfort read author. This formed one of the main threads of the conversation. The two other main themes, which are linked to this one, were the structure of this novel (and therefore the notion of time), and the characters.

A 'typical' Binchy novel sees a group of disparate people come together, whether to learn something, eat somewhere, follow a dream or go on a trip. This group transforms into a community as the book progresses, and their back stories are revealed. There are usually two or three narrators who pass the narrative baton amongst themselves. This novel is similar in theme – a bunch of people show up at a guest house in rural Ireland – but differs from Binchy's other novels structurally – it was agreed that it felt like a novel in short stories, and therefore a bit more disjointed than the group would have liked. (Perhaps it would work better as a radio novel?) However, this novel was appealing enough that readers new to Binchy were interested in going in search of her earlier work.

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