Between the Covers: Stories from My Bookcase

Monday, September 10, 2012

The Return Journey by Maeve Binchy

Unlike all the other Binchy books I’ve read, The Return Journey is a collection of 14 short stories. Each story, though only a few pages long, stand on its own.

There are mixed reviews of this collection in Goodreads, and I can understand why. If you didn’t pick this up knowing that it’s a collection of short stories, you would proceed reading expecting to see how each chapter relates to the next. You would also expect an ending that would make sense of it all. Because of Binchy’s writing style, you would expect one whole story out of the entire book. But then, you’d be wrong. So reading this with foreknowledge of what it is allowed me to just enjoy each story.

Binchy is known to take time to develop each character in her story. Because of the medium, we don’t see it much here. Nonetheless, she did a good job of showing us exactly what part each character played, no matter how short their story.

Though I liked it, and would hold on to the book, I can’t say it’s one of my favorite works of this author. In fact, I don’t remember much of the stories. I did like though how the first story was told through correspondence between mother and daughter.

I liked the story of the lady who lost her family’s business to the man she thought she would marry someday. Love how, no matter how late in life, she learned to appreciate all that she had and had begun to live more of her life. Also the story of the secretary who secretly admired her boss, only to find out that she didn’t really like him that much during an unexpected business trip.

Some of the stories I would have liked to see in a full length novel, but for most of them, they were enough as they were.

I’m on a quest to read all Binchy titles. Finishing this book last week has taken me closer to  that goal.