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The Return Journey Hardcover – 17 Sep 2009
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The Return Journey is a collection of 14 short stories of life, love and learning that enables the most harried reader to enjoy a well-told tale in its entirety before checking on the kids or sorting the washing. In the tradition of Binchy's classic tales Circle of Friends and Tara Road, this consummate summer beach book introduces readers not to models of literary and romantic indefectibility, but to people just like us, who lose their car keys and have bad hair days. The title story paints a portrait of the embattled relationship between a mother who left her home in Dunglass, Ireland, and her daughter, who has travelled to Ireland to find her history and finds love, as well. Through weekly correspondence, mother and daughter repair the damage to their relationship, laying to rest ghosts of an earlier mother-daughter relationship gone irrevocably wrong. Binchy's Victor and St. Valentine renews faith that truly romantic men do exist and are often overlooked, their motives suspect in an increasingly self-reliant world. No one can accuse Binchy of overtelling a tale; she has perfected the art of leading her readers to the verge and then allowing them to loose their imaginations as they see fit. --Alison Trinkle --This text refers to the mass market paperback edition of this title --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
This 4-cassette pack is good value and will leave to wanting to hear the others in the series. (Victoria Kingston)
'Unique audio books such as these are important to the progression of the market and it would be great to see them well supported' (THE BOOKSELLER) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Bought these as a Birthday present for the wife, she loved them.Published 11 months ago by K. W. Maeer
Yet another "classic" from the late, great Irish author. What a fantastic gift she had !Published 13 months ago by Amazon Customer
Maeve Binchy is a good writer but unfortunately this in my opinion is not one of her best. I found it rather confusing with so many short stories and numerous characters. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Mrs. Jean M. Brailsford