I'm feeling bereft to think that never again will I open a Maeve Binchy book for the first time and cast my eye eagerly toward page one and the opening sentence. The Queen of storytelling has left us and unless there are more stories secreted away in a drawer, waiting to be discovered and pounced upon eagerly by the likes of you and I, then sadly, I have just finished reading my last book from this revered author.
The book I refer to is called Chestnut Street and it was utterly delightful. It is composed of thirty six separate stories with the common thread being that at least one character per story resides at Chestnut Street.
The reader is introduced to a host of individual characters complete with their very human quirks, trials and tribulations as well as their joys and happiness.
Maeve Binchy’s uncanny ability to understand people and relay with integrity her observations of everyday life has constantly been reflected in her story telling over the years and Chestnut Street is no exception.
I frequently found myself taking stock of my own life! The way that I conduct myself and the influences that have made me the person I am. This may sound a bit pensive, but on the contrary I found the exercise of reflection to be a positive experience.
I thoroughly enjoyed meeting the many different characters and I embraced their diversity, ranging from Bucket Maguire, the window cleaner (of course), to Gwendoline the embittered spinster in her late thirties, who was unable to let in the light of friendship. There is even a cure for sleeplessness to be found, which I may even seriously try one of these frequently wakeful 4a.m.s
My favourite story though was entitled Fair Exchange.
I encourage you to take a stroll through Chestnut Street and find your own favourite character or story. Happy reading!
Chris Bakos :)