I ended this story in tears, what a beautiful, horrible, epic family tale. It ranged from 1945 till present times, through many nightmarish times for me. The first years of Aids, the fears the lies, and the Twin Towers, such darkness. I felt so much, this was such an emotional story. It was so real, laced with histories I lived through, a time machine of sorts. I had to stop many times to think about the events and to compare them to my memories of the time.This was the longest I've ever taken to read a book, it could not be read quickly it was too intense.
Cyril born in 1945 to a single mother thrown out by her family and church in Ireland placed in a adopted family lived an epic life. Raised by off centered cold parents, he was always held apart and alone. Growing up he had love for his friend that wasn't allowed or returned. He was a young gay man when it was a near death sentence to be one in Ireland. Political, legal, religious, and social wars against gay people were extreme, he hid and became a bit self destructive. He was terrorized, as were most in that time. He left Ireland after a punch in the gut wedding and began an epic journey through 3 countries, one great love, a new family, and many horrible loses. The great circle of life brought him so close to his roots many times always just a touch.
What a book. I don't think I am capable of describing it fully. It is beyond my ability to write the feelings.
I have read this collection before and I still enjoy it. I think that the best thing about it is that all of the stories are connected around the town of Rossmore and a well that a lot of people go and pray to (St. Ann's).
The central figure in this collection is Father Brian Flynn who appears in other Binchy stories. In the end, the resolution regarding the well I thought was a smart idea.
Honestly my favorite stories are:
"The Sharpest Knife in the Drawer"-telling the story of a good man named Ned who even though he is not the smartest man, is definitely better than his good for nothing brother. He appears in some of the other stories and I recall I think that he popped up in "Heart and Soul."
"Gold Star Claire"-reading about a woman who is connected to the character of Ned. I was honestly shocked at this story. A woman who is quite frank about rape and molestation that is going on in her family and someone else that was brought up in "The Sharpest Knife in the Drawer". I loved Claire, but did think that part of the story did get into some absurd things when we find out about what job Claire takes up in order to go to school and take care of her sister.
"Your Eleven O'Clock Lady" was hilarious. It was a case of mistaken identity and people doing pretty much a whose on first thing.
"The Intelligence Test" was also very good. It was definitely a feel good story.
I did like the other stories, but these are the ones that I liked the most.
Kindle edition pages: 354 pages. 201 to 400 pages: $3.00
April 15: $20
April 17: $23. I read The Wangs Vs the World (do not read this book) pages 368.
April 24: $28. I read "Dream Wedding, pages 512.
April 25: $28. Landed on BL and had to post a vacation photo or tell a story about a vacation.
April 29: $31.
Once again I love how Maeve Binchy shaped short stories. I read this one after "Evening Class" and wished that I had this one first. That's because some of the people in this collection show up in other Binchy works.
The first part of the book talks about how the Whitehorn woods are under threat. The location of a sacred well (St. Ann's) that people come to, to tell their tales to in order to get help is sometimes moving and other times sad.
"The Sharpest Knife in the Drawer" talks about a young man that is seen as not being as smart as others. Even though that may be true, his trust in people and other things definitely shows how good a person he is. His family is fairly terrible though.
The main character of Father Brian Flynn shows up in a few books and is what I would consider the main character. He is dealing with his sister being back and his terrible brother who has left his wife for another woman.