on 19 July 2001
Very sensable and common stories, each one of them unique and bitter-sweet. In a very plain, straightforward language she describes the deepest feelings of her characters. Firstly, I was sorry that these stories are short but then again, there is nothing missing from them. Buy this book, if you like quiet and lonely reading. For your holiday on the beach or just during your own journey.
on 1 November 2007
Whenever I pick up a Maeve Binchy story, I feel I am visiting an old friend. Although The Return Journey is no exception, it is different from her other books as it contains ten short stories. These 10 little nuggets are enjoyable in an easy reading sort of way. Each story revolves around a trip and lessons people learn about others and themselves when travelling. It would be a good book to take to the beach or for someone who has time for only a little reading in one sitting.
on 30 September 2009
As always, Maeve Binchy delights me. I have never as yet read one of her books and not just wanted it to go on and on.
However, to a writer of Binchy's standard there are always great expectations and as much as I enjoyed "The Return Journey", in my opinion it's not one of her best.
The stories in this collection are uneven. In all of them the characters are interesting and the settings certainly pique ones curiosity. But while some are leading to a fulfilling conclusion, others just go nowhere and leave - at least me - feeling somewhat cheated. Not that life is not full of odd incidents with no particular meaning, but in a book of fiction one expects a bit of fairytale, unusual developments, excitement and, hopefully, a happy ending.
The abrupt endings leading into simply nothing, is the only flaw of an otherwise lovely collection of stories. Warm and thoughtful with lots of tiny observations along the road in true Maeve Binchy style.
My favourites are firstly "A Villa for Four", taking place in Greece. So real and alive, it's a true gem, especially for lovers of this country. Then "The September Letters", a story full of surprises which has it all - people from different backgrounds whose paths are crossing, leading to unexpected events and directions in their lives.
Almost 5 stars since what's good is excellent - 4 due to a bit too many vague and/or "missing" completions.
I hadn't realised this was a book of short stories until I was into the third short story (of 22 averaging at about 15-20 pages each) and was struggling to find some connections between the various characters!!!
Having reread the blurb on the back of the book, I adjusted my reading of the stories and started to enjoy them individually. There is a general theme of travel which is strong. With really good short stories you should always have to pause between each story to take in and interpret what you have just read. This isn't the case here - they are good stories but easy to pack up and move on.
It's no surprise that some stories are better than others, although none really jumped out as being great. The last story in particular really annoyed me as it was so much longer than all the others, I was ready for something short and snappy by that point.
If you are looking for something to read on the train or beach then this is perfect as the collection is not particularly stretching to read but if you haven't liked her previous books then don't bother.
I enjoyed reading this book but it won't change my life or stay in my head for long.
on 4 February 2008
New York Times-bestselling author of Evening Class and This Year It Will Be Different once again reveals her incomparable understanding of matters of the heart. In The Return Journey, Maeve Binchy brings us sons and lovers, daughters and strangers, husbands and wives in their infinite variety--powerfully compelling stories of love, loss, revelation, and reconciliation.A secretarys silent passion for her boss meets the acid test on a business trip....A man and a womans mutual disdain at first sight shows how deceptive appearances can be....An insecure wife clings to the illusion of order, only to discover chaos at the hands of a house sitter who opens the wrong doors....A pair of star-crossed travelers take each others bags, and then learn that when you unlock a strangers suitcase, you enter a stranger's life. In their company are many more, whose poignant, ironic, often humorous stories--unforgettable slices of life--make up The Return Journey, a spellbinding trip into the human heart.Maeve Binchy was born and educated in Dublin. She is the author of the bestselling books Evening Class, This Year It Will Be Different, The Glass Lake, The Copper Beech, The Lilac Bus, Circle of Friends, Silver Wedding, Firefly Summer, Echoes, Light a Penny Candle, and London Transports, three volumes of short stories, two plays, and a teleplay that won three awards at the Prague Film Festival. She has been writing for The Irish Times since 1969 and lives with her husband, Gordon Snell, in Dublin. Maeve Binchy captured the imagination of the world with her spellbinding tales of the Irish people. With her trademark charm, wit, and sheer storytelling genius, she tells stories that are at once universal yet uniquely Irish. Now in this delightful little book, she spins a collection of all-new yarns--stories of sadness and joy, warmth and humour!! I'd also recommend, if you missed Tino Georgiou's novel--The Fates, getting a copy--absolutely fab..