After many happy years of marriage and raising a family, Brian and Kathleen suddenly find themselves a bit lost in life. Midwesterners who’ve never traveled, Kathleen decides that what she and Brian need is a vacation, and with the help of an enthusiastic travel agent she plans a trip to Ireland in search of her roots. In beautiful, quaint Lisdoonvarna, to the couple’s surprise, they find themselves in the midst of a joyous yearly gathering dedicated to celebrating the life and work of a late Irish poet, and they rediscover something much more important than evidence of long-dead ancestors: their love for each other and for life itself.
Either read (29 pages) or listened to (33 minutes), this short story is so short I’m not really sure we actually get a story. Don’t blink or you’ll miss the whole thing.
My one experience with this author was back in 2020 for #ReadingIrelandMonth20 when the CE and I co-read A Week in Winter. You can’t compare a 418 page novel with a 33 minute audiobook. He loved the former—I balked—and this is apples and oranges so you can’t compare the writing style of the two.
Brian and Kathleen after years of marriage have found themselves at an unhappy crossroads. When Brian’s job leaves him high, dry, and despondent, she decides they need a vacation and researching choose the land of her ancestors. She books a week in Lisdoonvarna where, coincidentally, they are celebrating the work of a late, great Irish poet.
While my heart goes out to Kathleen, I didn’t care at all for Brian. Given his lack of interest in anything, I wasn’t sure how she convinced him to go on the trip. Perhaps Brian wasn’t given enough development, the effort having gone to Kathleen, but he remained an enigma and I never warmed up to him.
Kathleen loves her husband, tries very hard to put some spark back into their marriage. Brian, who’s never been one to do much of anything fun, suddenly participates in various activities, joining the celebration. And what happens in the conclusion leaves me scratching my head.
Huh? I was shocked! She is willing to accept this Brian. I was thinking perhaps he was in need of a psychologist.
So, no, not wholly thrilled with this one either. I downloaded a copy of this audiobook from my local well-stocked library. These are my honest thoughts.
Genre: Fiction Short Stories, Family Life Fiction, Women’s Fiction
Publisher: Random House Audio
Listening Length: 33 mins
Narrator: Maeve Binchy
Publication Date: May 4, 2011
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: A Week in Summer [Amazon]
Rosepoint Publishing: Three point Five Stars
The Author: Maeve Binchy was born in County Dublin and educated at the Holy Child convent in Killiney and at University College, Dublin. After a spell as a teacher she joined the IRISH TIMES. Her first novel, LIGHT A PENNY CANDLE, was published in 1982 and she went on to write over twenty books, all of them bestsellers. Several have been adapted for cinema and television, including TARA ROAD. Maeve Binchy received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the British Book Awards in 1999 and the Irish PEN/A.T. Cross award in 2007. In 2010 she was presented with the Bob Hughes Lifetime Achievement Award at the Bord Gáis Irish Book Awards by the President of Ireland. She was married to the writer and broadcaster Gordon Snell for 35 years, and died in 2012.
©2023 V Williams
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