Thursday, August 2, 2012

Maeve Binchy--A Favorite of Mine

Maeve Binchy
The news of Maeve Binchy's passing saddened me greatly. I was born exactly one year before her, well almost, as her birthday was May 28, 1940 and mine May 29, 1939. We were the last wave of Depression babies, brought up by parents who knew what real hardship was. Our early years coincided with WWII. Both of those situations had a tremendous influence on the person I am today, and I'm guessing that it was the same for this beloved Irish novelist. 

Like me, Maeve Binchy was a teacher. She moved on to become a journalist and then began writing novels. She wrote about everyday people in Ireland which endeared her to her readers. Her characters were ones readers could relate to. They are like the people we meet in our day to day life. We cheer when something good happens to her protagonist and snuffle a bit when something bad occurs.

Light A Penny Candle was, I believe, her first novel and it made me a fan of hers for life. I read it about 30 years ago and loved it. I think I must read it again to understand what it was that appealed to me about that book. I do know that I followed Maeve's career and read every new book she had published. Some I liked better than others, but I never found one I did not finish or disliked. 

First and foremost, Maeve Binchy was a master storyteller. Her style was simple, her voice all her own, and her prose most readable. Her work would not be put into the literary section at a bookstore. Her books appealed more to women and they were meant to be entertaining. Even so, readers learned many life lessons as they journeyed through her many novels and short stories. 

Her husband is Gordon Snell, a children's author. What interesting dinner conversations they must have had, both being in the same field, both knowing all about the joys and miseries of getting published, both knowing the elation and sorrow that comes with being a writer. 

I will miss her stories immensely. Her latest novel, A Week in Winter, has not been published but is with her publisher in the final stages of editing prior to publication. Surely, it will be published soon and with great fanfare to laud this beloved author's final gift to the world of readers. 

If you have not read any of Maeve Binchy's books. go to her website (where the home page now announces her death) and click on the page links on the left to learn more about her and to find a list of her publications. Then start reading her books, one by one.

1 comment:

  1. What a beautiful tribute, Nancy! I had not heard of Maeve Binchy before, but you make her sound like an old friend.