- Audio Download
- Listening Length: 12 hours and 29 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Orion Publishing Group
- Audible.co.uk Release Date: 24 April 2014
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00JEULL4G
Chestnut Street Audio Download – Unabridged
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Top Customer Reviews
I have been a lifelong fan of Maeve's inimitable warmth, her easy to read style of writing about friendships, family, loss, and new or enduring love and of problems associated with the living of a life. These are the issues that Maeve has used as the focus for this collection of stories. They are like little homilies that we might learn from, the advice of a dear and wise friend and are stories with a carefully hidden morale that soon becomes all too clear, just as Maeve intended. They are shortened versions of the style of book that was the cornerstone of Maeve's inspirational ideas for her many lovely books.
I did feel that a few of the stories had been written with the idea of Maeve coming back to them at a later date in some instances. But this was sadly not to be. Usually so very certain to present a carefully rounded story with an enticing beginning, a middle which developed the story in all its splendour and an ending that just melted the heart and was so very satisfying, occasionally I was surprised with a very abrupt ending and left to ponder just why the story had not been completed with the usual dedication in finding a satisfactory ending. But I did enjoy reading this 400-page collection and I read each story carefully and with nostalgia, all the time knowing that this would be Maeve's very last contribution, gifted to us by one of the most talented and well loved authors of the modern school of wonderful Irish fiction.
I felt that some of the tales ended too abruptly, but as is synonymous to this author they all contained that feel good factor.
I agree a number of the stories feel unfinished, and drift to an end in an inconclusive way, but many of them are finished and polished and worth the read. They are loosely centered around a fictional street in Dublin, and ramble over several decades from the 1960s to the present. The characters are very ordinary people, mostly - though not always - women of various ages, from teenagers to pensioners, and the format is that Ms Binchy sets up an initial premise for them, then about halfway through the story there's a transformation - sometimes in quite a surprising way.
The little pinches of the repressive nature of Irish life come in here and there, but not excessively. (Eg. a mother disapprovingly comments that her daughter might still be unmarried because she drives a car.) There is lots and lots of infidelity, and it wasn't until a story mentioned an upcoming referendum that I discovered that divorce was illegal in Ireland until 1998.(!!!!!!) Quite a few characters are school teachers, probably because Ms Binchy used to be a teacher herself, and I did giggle when one of them stumbled into a disco by a mistake to be greeted by most of her Fifth Form class - and she also had an armful of beer. Ms Binchy seems to have a distrust of ambitious men who talk a lot and try to get on in the corporate world, as quite a few of them populate the stories, and this is brought to its height in one case where a businessman is ordered to take up flower-arranging by his doctor, and brings to it his same killer instincts. You will never look at floral displays the same way again.
Overall though, what she celebrates are kindness, forgiveness, warmth, love and hope. Misguided hope, often. The story of the window cleaner with the wayward son was heartbreaking.
Tara road, Scarlett feather, Quentins, The glass lake; nicely written books; some of them do have almost separate stories for the different characters, but linking together into an overall cohesive plot.
This has none of that. It's not even a collection of 'short stories', as there is no 'story' to most of the chapters.
To me a 'story' implies something with a beginning and end, some kind of development or purpose.
This is one chapter for each of the neighbours living in Chestnut Street.
Some have a semblance of a story- though they feel a bit rushed, or curtailed, but many seem to have no purpose other than that 'someone has to live at number 17'! Several times I got to the end of a chapter and wondered 'what was the point of that?'
I have come across a couple of her books like this recently- 'the return journey' being another one.
To me it feels as if she's built up her reputation to the point that many of her readers will buy anything she publishes, and so there's no need to actually write a decent story now. She can stick a dozen chapters of pointless rambling together and still make a fortune while leaving many readers feeling unsatisfied.
This is the literary equivalent of McDonalds, when you were expecting a nice home cooked dinner. Disappointing; not what I expected, and left me rather regretting that I'd wasted time and money on it!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
My favourite author love her stories so I am very sad that there will not be any more. RIP Maeve Binchy.Published 1 month ago by Susan
I felt like somebody had just put bits of Maeve's writing together and set it all in one street to make up a book after she died, not my favouritePublished 2 months ago by Amazon Customer