Book info

Evening Class (2005)

Evening Class (2005)
Author
Rating
3.95 of 5 Votes: 5
ISBN
0752876821 (ISBN13: 9780752876825)
languge
English
genre
publisher
orion publishing group
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Evening Class (2005)
Evening Class (2005)

About book: **SPOILERS .... BEWARE!!!**I found this read pretty interesting. Each chapter is narrated by a different character & all of the characters are intertwined in some way, other than their obvious attendance to the evening class. This shouldn't have been a problem…. but by the time I got to the 6th character (or-so) I'd forgotten the first 5 & had to seriously rack my brain to figure out how the characters were connected, who was who, and who did what. (Maybe it’s my ever-increasing old age. YIKES!) And then it became work. Each new chapter brought the beginning feelings of dread... It had nothing to do with the writing style because I enjoyed Binchy's writing. And it had nothing to do with the characters because I genuinely liked the characters & wanted to know their stories. But I became impatient with the current characters stories having to stop in order to allow the introduction of the new characters. I wanted to know what was happening with the characters I'd already become attached to & I knew, in my heart of hearts, I would really like the new characters & their stories & the process became redundant & irritating. I mean, I sit here & say I liked “all” of their stories, but the reality is that some of them were slightly off for me & a little far-fetched. Then again, I’ve never actually met anyone like Fiona so it’s hard for me to relate. (Were there enough “&’s” in this paragraph?? Just making sure I met the “&” quota, is all.) There were also some things that totally left me hanging. For example: Why was Aiden's wife (Nell) such a bitch?? Not in an annoyingly bitchy way, but in a cold, absent way (which truthfully, became annoying. Hmmm…). What made her like this?? How did her affair with Barry's father start?? What happened with Fran & her beau in the U.S?? Why was Connie so tight in the sack?? Was it really her lack of trust in men?? Did she ever get over it or take a new lover?? Did she reconnect with Jacko?? Etc, etc...Admittedly, I'm one of those readers that prefer the majority of my reading to be wrapped up in a beautiful little bow. Open endings are not my favorite because my imagination is so broad that my mind pulls in so many different directions and I’m left confused. I’m not saying that it has to be a perfect “happily ever after” ending.. just let it be an ending. THE END

While the organization of this book is almost identical to the last Maeve Binchy novel I read, Copper Beech, I liked this book much more. In this novel, teacher Aiden Dunne feels certain he will be promoted to principal of the run-down school in which he has taught for most of his adult life. In a way, that promotion was the only thing he had to look forward to. He once had had a loving, close relationship with his wife and two daughters but that is sadly no longer the case. His wife barely speaks to him and makes it perfectly clear that she is completely disinterested in anything he might have to say. His daughters, now young adults, are wrapped up in their own lives, jobs, and friendships, and don't take much notice of either of their parents. When the announcement comes of who is to be named the new principal, not only does Aiden not get the job but it goes to the one teacher for whom he has absolutely no respect, Tony O'Brien. In an attempt to mollify Aiden, Tony asks him what he would like and when Aiden speaks of night classes, Tony says he will make it happen. Actually, Tony has no expectation of the classes becoming successful but that was before anyone had met the incomparable Signora. As with Copper Beech, each chapter is something of a novella featuring one of the book's characters, but this novel does a much better job of circling everything back to the central idea and the two main characters. In my opinion, what made Maeve Bunchy such an extraordinary novelist is her character development and in this novel, she really shines brightly in this regard. If you enjoy heart-warming, but now sugary-sweet tales, check out this and many others that Maeve Binchy wrote. You won't be disappointed!
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Reviews
Alison C
My mother recently visited me and left Maeve Binchy's novel, Evening Class, for me to read, and I'm very glad she did as she's not an author I've read before. Evening Class is set in Dublin and is essentially a collection of inter-related stories about a group of people who come together to take a course in Italian. The glue that holds together all of these people is Signora, the teacher who had spent 26 years in Sicily before returning home to Ireland following the death of the love of her life, but each of the characters has a deeper and more complicated life than appears to be the case initially. For instance, Fran and Kathy are the eldest and youngest sisters of a large family - or are they? Lou seems completely out of place in the course, but he has a surprising reason for being there. Connie is the wealthy lady who is hiding a lifetime of artifice and scandal.... And so on, and so on. I very much enjoyed this collection of character studies; although Binchy's writing seems to be very gentle and sweet, there are shocking truths revealed by each character as the reader gets to know them better, and one ends up with a feeling of rich satisfaction at the complex nature of life and of humanity. Recommended, and I'm definitely planning to read more of this marvelous writer!
Maureen Mullis
This is one of my favorite books of Maeve Binchy's! The way each of the people in the class are intertwined was amazing, huh? Great book - glad you enjoyed it too!Lana Williams
Krista
Really great, dynamic characters. You just cheer for them all the way as they learn Italian and figure out how to shape their lives. Each chapter is from the point of view of a different character, and having them intertwine is fun in the way that seeing a character show up in cameo in another tv series is fun. Pretty confusing, though, as there are a couple dozen characters at least, and several of them have second, Italian names. Pretty quick and easy to read, and has a few really good chuckles.
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