Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Evening Class by Maeve Binchy
73. Evening Class
by Maeve Binchy
Kindle book - 17
When I wrote my book report on Scarlet Feather, Raidergirl left me a comment saying that Evening Class was her favorite Maeve Binchy book. I read it many years ago, and her note prompted me to read it again and I decided to buy it for the Kindle. I had a fond memory of it, though it was tinged with a feeling I couldn't quite put my finger on. As I read Evening Class, I came upon the section that had caused the negative impression. One of the characters was abused in the past. I still found this very difficult to read, but thankfully it wasn't too long.
Herein we read the first mention of Quentins, a Dublin restaurant whose owners and employees come up again in the books to follow, including a book all its own, called Quentins. I absolutely love this in an author's work; books that aren't necessarily a series, but that do have a connection one to another.
The chapters in Evening Class are each devoted to one character. We meet Aidan Dunne who wants to be the new head of the school where he has worked as a devoted Latin teacher for many years, but who sadly doesn't have what it takes to lead. We meet Tony O'Brien who gets this job, and who just happens to be in love with Dunne's daughter. Tony very thoughtfully leads Dunne toward setting up and organizing an evening class, something which he has wanted to do, and which preserves his self-esteem and gives him a new lease on life. The rest of the characters are the people who take the class, and the teacher herself, Nora O'Donoghue known as Signora. She is an Irish woman who has lived in Italy for many years to be near the man she loves, who was married to an Italian woman. When he dies she comes back to her native country, and teaching this class offers her a new beginning. Each person in the class is changed by this simple act of studying the Italian language and culture a couple nights a week. The course ends with a trip to Italy.
Evening Class is another lovely Maeve Binchy book. The author is a great storyteller. She endows her characters with a sense of hope and promise for the future even if their pasts haven't been so wonderful.
It appears that I will be building a library of Maeve Binchy books on my Kindle. They make for excellent bedtime reading, which is when I use the Kindle. I am hoping to read several for The Ireland Reading Challenge. Next up will be a reread of Quentins. And even though I've said I like the later Maeve Binchy books better, I am thinking that I may just go back to the earlier books and read them all again.
I came upon this article from The Globe and Mail in which Maeve Binchy talks about her own love of reading. I like her reading reward system, and may adapt it to my own life!