Superb storytelling from one of the world's best-loved writers.
Just round the corner from St Jarlath's Crescent (featured in MINDING FRANKIE) is Chestnut Street. Here, the lives of the residents are revealed in Maeve Binchy's wonderfully compelling tales:
Bucket Maguire, the window cleaner, who must do more than he bargained for to protect his son. Nessa Byrne, whose aunt comes to visit from America for six weeks every summer and turns the house - and Nessa's world - upside down. Lilian, the generous girl with a big heart, and the fiancé not everyone approves of. And Melly, whose gossip about the neighbours leads to trouble in the form of the fortune teller, 'Madame Magic'...
'In Chestnut Street [there is] enough kindness, wisdom and insight into human nature, to remind readers why Maeve Binchy was one of the most beloved writers this country has ever produced' Irish Times
This posthumously published collection of stories revolving around an imaginary street in Dublin was written by Binchy (A Week in Winter) over a period of decades, and approved by her husband, writer Gordon Snell. The earlier stories are more developed than some of the later tales, but overall, the author gives us one last extraordinary look at ordinary people as they struggle with family relationships, romances gone awry, and the possibility for a better future. Standouts include the first story, "Dolly's Mother," in which a shy, unassuming teenager copes with having a kind, charismatic mother who is more popular than she is, and as is revealed might not be as perfect as everyone thinks. In "It's Only A Day," Binchy fondly portrays the transformation of three childhood friends into adults, using the lens of their disparate views on romance, as old-fashioned values find a place in their modern worlds. The book is filled with vignettes in which dissatisfied husbands leave their wives, but find their new lives wanting; disparate people find common ground, and even romance; and holding one's tongue leads to the best way to make relationships thrive. While some entries come off more as character studies than actual stories, one finds here insightful observations about human nature all with Binchy's thoughtful and loving touch that will be sorely missed.
Brilliant as usual from Maeve
This is a book like some previous ones from Maeve Binchy, like The Return Journey or This Year It Will Be Different where instead of one story with chapters, it is a book of short stories. These stories were gathered together by her husband after her death to be made into a final book, so if the theme of "Chestnut Street", which is basically where some of the characters live, gets lost or missed sometimes, it is totally understandable and really doesn't detract from the stories at all. It is full of Maeve's usual tales of life, love and family which she does brilliantly. If you've enjoyed other books from Maeve Binchy you will love this too, and it is made all the more special because it will be her last ever book. Enjoy!
Disjointed and no coherent theme running through the book beyond the street name. No character development or depth whatsoever. Not the usual standard of writing.