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I think I have read all of Maeve Binchy's novels. Since I first read her 1982 novel, 'Light a Penny Candle' I have admired her writing skills and always looked forward to a new novel being published. I loved reading her books which tell a complete story, becoming caught up in the story from just about the first page. I consider Maeve Binchy to be incredibly talented. She can weave a fantastic story starting, seemingly, with nothing. Her understanding of the intrigues and problems in people's lives is brilliant, in my opinion. I love her characterisation, which I find superb. When she tells tales of Dublin, especially, I feel I am there although in reality that is a place I have yet to visit. Through her wonderful style, we can gain an insight into the Irish, or the English, American or Greek so, why oh why does she appear to have given up writing 'proper' novels and instead keep coming out with short stories.
Admittedly I am not an avid reader of short stories. Occasionally I might read some, but usually only if given this to read. I would never knowingly buy a book of short stories. No, I like a book that I can get my teeth into and, although many books containing short stories can be brilliantly written, to me this isn't the type of read that I love.
I don't like saying it, in fact I feel distinctly disloyal, saying this about an author that I have put up there in my top ten of contemporary novelists but I just cannot help thinking that Ms Binchy is selling herself short. Is she writing short stories because they are easier or quicker to write, I wonder. I cannot believe it's to do with not having enough ideas to write a full novel, as her short stories are written in her usual, wonderful style and one becomes interested inn the hero or heroine of the story but then all too soon the story is over.
I am quite cross about this book, 'The Return Journey' because I purchased this believing it was a complete novel. I must explain that the cover of my paperback is not the same as the one shown here and it does not state, 'STORIES' on the front cover. Okay, I made a mistake, I picked this book up in Sainsbury's, along with another book, as I thought it would make great holiday reading. I put it into my trolley. I suppose I was a bit rushed as I commented to my husband, 'At last, a proper book from Maeve!' It does say on the back, 'The Return Journey' and underneath in smallish lettering, 'and other stories.' I can't say it was sold under false pretences exactly, but I do feel it could have been made clearer on the front of the book.
I took this on my holiday and late one evening decided to begin the 'novel', to help me nod off. I read, and finished, what I felt was the first chapter, which was titled, 'The Return Journey' and it consisted of letters written by a mother and her daughter. I then began what I thought was the second chapter, entitled, 'The Wrong Suitcase' and realised that I had bought a book of short stories. What a disappointment. I had believed Maeve was back to her old way of writing and would show what she was still capable of. I persevered, reading a few of the stories, but haven't finished the book. To my way of thinking, short stories aren't usually gripping. I'm not one for magazines yet feel, in this case, I might just as well have flicked through one as bother with this book. I probably will read it all one day, at present feel I would always prefer to pick up a book which I can immerse myself into, having a good read rather than bothering with a small snippet of someone's life. I like to get to know the characters and remember them after finishing the book.
This book is published by Orion fiction at a recommended price of, £7.99. I bought two books for £7.00. I don't usually pay this much for books but I wanted to finish my holidays shopping.
Information on this book and others can be found on their website www.orionbooks.co.uk
Here is some further information about this book, taken from the above website:
198mm x 129mm x 26mm
ISBN-13 Number: 9781409103462
Publication Date: June 2010
This title is also available in the following formats:
The Return Journey (Audio Tape)
The Return Journey (Digital Download)
The Return Journey (Digital Download)
The Return Journey (Audio CD)
The Return Journey (eBook)
The Return Journey (Hardback)
The Return Journey (Paperback)
The Return Journey consists of twenty two VERY short stories which, although are interesting and well written, in my opinion they are far from gripping.
I was given this book by my nan, who said the stories were her favourites ever. Having read a few of Binchy's previous books, I knew what to expect, and didn't think I'd be instantly impressed. I was, though!
This book contains 14 short stories, which are gorgeously written and suit Binchy's writing style perfectly. The title story is about a mother who has left her home in Ireland to start a new life. Her daughter, however, has stayed in Ireland, determined to investigate her family tree. The two write each other weekly letters, discussing everything from their past to their futures, and trying to fix a broken relationship. Its such a beautiful story, and the elegant writing style and realistic characters make it even more perfect.
The other thirteen stories also explore families, love, relationships and emotions, and all are equally enjoyable. It's Binchy that makes the stories so enjoyable, however, as she allows her characters to be real, as well as fictional. They have real emotions, real feelings, and real bad hair days. She writes with such a flair and passion that her characters are alive, and you'll find yourself feeling exactly like them.
The newest book from Maeve Binchy which is a selcetion of short stories
Maeve Binchy is a no 1 bestselling author, and this is her latest offering, in this selection of short stories she tells tales of star crossed travellers, house sitters who can change your life forever, girls holidays to greece with surprising consequences and chance encounters at airports bringing together unlikely people.
These stories were easy to read, however, Maeve Binchy usually has an uncanny knack in bringing you into the perosns life that she is talking about, you generally feel part of it, i feel the magic has been lost in these short stories, purely because they are short, too short, they are not long enough to be lured into the stories or into any of their lives. I also found that some of the stories were repeating similar backgrounds, or had various similarities between them.
For myself, i found it slightly disappointing, as you do not get as much background and live their lifes as usual, and although the stories were easily readable, it is the kind of book you can just pick up when you feel like it and have no qualms in putting back down again, ideal for some i am sure, whereas all her other books usually have me staying up way past bedtime as i never want to put them down.
Overall, i do feel she has rushed out her latest book to perhaps get the christmas presents paid for in 2009, saying that, each little story is still well written, just not as much magic as i usually find in her books.