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Maeve Binchy's heart-warming tales of love, life and loss made her one of Ireland's most celebrated writers. Seared with a truth and honesty that leapt from the page, her books captured the imagination and loyalty of millions of readers, for whom there was no greater storyteller.
In his bestselling biography, Piers Dudgeon gives a privileged insight into a life at once so familiar and yet so extraordinary, played against the backdrop of her favourite character: Ireland. Here, Maeve, who always had so much love to give, experienced the agonies of growing up the girl that nobody wanted to dance with, and the student who could never live up to her parents hopes. Here, finally, she came to question the dogma that surrounded her, and found her own path, liberated from the narrow rules of convention.
Maeve Binchy: The Biographyreveals her triumphant struggle, and presents a powerful tribute to a phenomenal storytelling talent.
Dudgeon (Neverland) begins his narrative of bestselling author Maeve Binchy with novelistic flair, but, once past the familiar-sounding details of her early life and career, struggles for a conventional plot formula to fit the mature Binchy's life. He labors to attribute Binchy's "authentic" style to her ancestry, in particular an "indigenous Irish culture" built on music and storytelling. Yet Dudgeon also grounds the international success of her emotionally-driven, female-centered novels in modern vogues for psychology, feminism, and women's fiction. Beside the reminiscences of friends and occasional attempts at amateur psychoanalysis based on her fiction, the biography relies on personal stories that will amuse the casual fan but which Binchy's loyal followers may recognize as culled with some embellishment from her Irish Times columns. Her mature, most beloved novels merit barely a mention as Dudgeon muses on Binchy's appeal as an "intuitive" writer channeling "the collective unconscious of her people." While the biography does sensitively capture her "exhilarating, joyful spirit" as well as her vulnerabilities, Dudgeon's Binchy ultimately never seems as fully-realized as one of her own characters testament, perhaps, to the unique talent that "made people feel happier for reading her."