A Few of the Girls
By: Maeve Binchy
Narrator: Sile Bermingham, Jayne Entwistle, John Lee & Katharine McEwan
Penguin Random House: Random House Audio
Release Date: March 01, 2016
Genre: Fiction – Contemporary Women 11 Hours
Audiofile provided by publisher for review. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinions presented herein are my own except as noted.
From Maeve Binchy’s earliest writings to the most recent, her work is filled with wisdom and common sense and also a sharp, often witty voice that is insightful and reaches out to her readers around the world and of all ages. Whether it is one of her best-selling novels or a short story, Maeve shows us that times may have changed, but people often remain the same: they fall in love, sometimes unsuitably; they have hopes and dreams; they have deep, long-standing friends whose secrets are shared; they go on holidays and celebrate new jobs . .
A Few of the Girls is a glorious collection of the very best of her short story writing, stories that were written over the decades—some published in magazines, others for friends as gifts, many for charity benefits. The stories are all filled with the signature warmth and humor that have always been an essential part of Maeve’s appeal. – See more at: http://www.penguinrandomhouseaudio.com/book/535299/a-few-of-the-girls/#sthash.5cuGWu8J.dpuf
“The Irish do love telling stories, and we are suspicious of people who don’t have long, complicated conversations. There used to be a rule in etiquette books that you should invite four talkers and four listeners to a dinner party. That doesn’t work in Ireland, because nobody knows four listeners.” Maeve Binchy
Maeve Binchy’s bestselling novels not only tell wonderful stories, they also give an insight into how Ireland has changed over the decades, but how people remain the same: they still fall in love, sometimes unsuitably; they still have hopes and dreams; they have deep, long-standing friendships, and some that fall apart. From her earliest writing to her most recent, Maeve’s work has included wonderfully nostalgic pieces and also sharp, often witty writing which is insightful and topical.
But at the heart of all Maeve’s fiction are the people and their relationships with each other. A Few of the Girls is a glorious collection of the very best of her stories, full of the warmth, charm and humour that has always been an essential part of all of Maeve’s writing.
I really enjoyed these short stories; Maeve Binchy surely could tell a story and without cliche, with satisfying, if not spectacularly happy, endings. Binchy captured stories of life as it is, without sugar-coating, or mind-blowing orgasms. In other words, Binchy recognized that life is special and not to be wasted but it is wonderful as it is.
Humanity isn’t always pretty, but in the hands of Maeve Binchy can be beautifully written.
I also really enjoyed the narrators who were each excellent and each added the perfect note to each story. I especially enjoyed John Lee’s droll take on everything he read. And I always enjoy Jayne Entwhistle’s effervescent delivery.
I’ve read several of Binchy’s novels, so I am not unfamiliar with her style. But in the audio format of the book, I felt like I was missing something. I felt as if I had entered a series too late. Were they connected? I have tried to figured it out, but cannot find a reference to the short stories being linked. I think it is because they occur in similar areas with which I am unfamiliar and it seems like similar, normal Irish (more Anglo-Irish than Celtic names) are used. It kind of confused me because I thought the stories were connected, then it seemed as if they were not connected. I felt like I was taking a test on a class I had failed to attend.
I think this might be a function of the audio format: you cannot go back and look at the story in writing and puzzle out the issue.
But, each story is beautifully told. They aren’t about spectacularly beautiful, rich people with power, or powers. They don’t always have a perfect ending. They are altogether human. And, if you love Irish storytelling, or just Maeve Binchy, then this is a MUST READ/LISTEN.
Author’s site: http://maevebinchy.com/project/a-few-of-the-girls/