Think marveling at this splendid backcloth But it can t have been so I m not the marveling kind Or was I then But one thing is sure I had a feeling of immense content and if I thought at all it was that I d ike this to go on and on p 61Simply put this book has given me all I ook for a cascade of words that ring so true and are beautifully written wonderfully realised characters even though we know them so briefly a perfect setting especially for an Anglophile who oves art and archaeology and a simple story about complex peopleI would rated this than 5 if I could When we pick up a book by an author we haven t read before we have only the vaguest notion of what themes it will contain We don t know how those themes will be treated what attention to detail we will find or if the anguage will delight us or otherwise Before we turn over that first page it is all as blank as a whitewashed wall We may bring expectations to the blank piece of wall expectations based on the period the book is set in or from the opinions of readers we trust but any clarity on the book s contents will remain argely hidden Sometimes our expectations are rewarde I am a seasonal reader often craving books with sizzling settings in the summer months and snowy Naples! locales in the winter Last week I saw a review for J L Carr s Man Booker winning A Month in the Country and was intrigued enough by the title to read it for myself Using stunning prose combined with well developed characters Carr s novella is perfect for aeisurely summer morning Tom Birkin had survived the Great War yet returned alienated from civilian The Curious Cases of Cyriack Skinner Grey life While in present times his feelings can be ascribed to survivor s guilt or post traumatic stress disorder in 1920 Birkin did not have an outlet for his feelings His wife Vinny hadeft him for another man Itsuka leaving the door open for his return Disillusioned withife as a temporarily single man in London Birkin accepts a job in a small northern hamlet of Oxgodby to unearth a painting and artist from the 1340s Even though this out of the way Mom, They're Teasing Me: Helping Your Child Solve Social Problems life is not what Birkin had envisioned for himself he welcomes the opportunity to get out of his situation and avoid the present mess of his marriage While in Oxgodby Birkin encounters a uaint cast of characters Fellow excavator Michael Moon has come north for the same reasons as Birkin The two share war stories and their views onife in general as they attempt to meet their deadlines in unearthing medieval men As the two outsiders enjoy a cordial relationship Birkin also interacts with ocals Kathy Ellenbeck is a precocious fourteen year old who seems to know everything about everyone I found her exchanges to be humorous Meanwhile Birkin is smitten with the vicar s wife Alice Keach A young woman of no than twenty Alice is both intuitive and beautiful yet off imits It is through his and Alice s non relationship that allows Birkin to assess his own ife situation In his novella Carr employs descriptive prose that has me onging for a countryside Warm summer days are perfect for picnics budding romances and staying #up Live Bait late contemplating one s role inife Carr characters in Birkin and Moon #late contemplating one s role in ife Carr develops characters Birkin and Moon are non believers yet are employed by a church Most of the action occurs within the belfry where Birkin works and sleeps even the contrast as he fights an inner impulse to strike up relations with Alice For a male author I enjoyed Carr s development of his female characters and was glad that they were simply platonic All good things come to an end Birkin Narrates This Story While this story while back 58 years ater having never returned to Oxgodby The story moved by uickly and Birkin finished his work the church goers almost relieved when he returned to London Carr s story is indeed appropriate for a Fancy Strut lazy summer morning A Month in the Country is a relaxing novella with strong characters for a summer day andike Birkin when I was finished reading it it was time to get on with my everyday Northern California: A History and Guide - From Napa to Eureka life 4 solid stars If I d stayed there would I always have been happy No I suppose not People move away grow older die and the bright belief that there will be another marvelous thing around each corner fades It is now or never we must snatch at happiness as it flies Do we recognize happiness when weive it Or is it a condition we only perceive in retrospection remembering the past through the rose tinted glasses of memoryWales 1978 Thomas Birkin a survivor of the Great War travels back in time to the 1920s and reconstructs a month spent in the rural village of Oxgodby North Yorkshire Employed to recover a concealed medieval painting on the wall of the ocal church Thomas believes that a change of scenery will soothe the scars the bloodbath of war and a shattered marriage have imprinted on him Regardless of his skeptical attitude towards religion the placid rhythm of summer days ripened by the sun and the uaint temperament of some of the townspeople will guide him inadvertently not only to uncover the mysteries surrounding the mural painting but also towards his spiritual restoration This is what I need I thought a new start and afterwards maybe I won t be a casualty any Thomas is a product of his generation Gifted with excessive self awareness uncommon ucidity and a rare sense of humor he speaks from the intimacy of a first person narrator and makes the reader a sensory participant of the impact a few weeks spent among strangers in self effacing examination of how a tiny parcel of his history infused him with a renewed zest for ife JL Carr s masterstroke is to tinge the mural of Thomas chronicle with a gossamer of vivid observations that sparkle the old flame of hope which glows brighter than ever when Alice Keach the Minister s wife pierces through Thomas numbness with her curious vitality The world unfolds in a palette of intricate details delightful snapshots of daily postcards A blooming rose in a hat the comfortable dampness of concentrated craft under the roof timbers the buzz of insects and the twittering of birds and blades of grass swaying with the gentle breeze passers by that matter and others that don t eave track silent conver. Ped define their generation while today each is considered a andmark work of storytelling JL Carr's A Month in the Country was first published in 1980 Tom Birkin a damaged survivor of World War One is spending the sum. ,
J.L. Carr á 6 FREE READ,
Tom Birkin is hired to reveal and restore a Medieval church mural covered up over four hundred years earlier Expertly peeling back the ayers of A Sally Lockhart Mystery 2 lime and grime what he finds on the walls is unexpected in subject and uality What heearns about people especially himself is unexpected too the process of restoration is personally restorative Don t I Love My Dad let the bland cover or blurbead you to think this is just the charming story of the healing effect of a bucolic month in a uiet village It is that But it s much JL Carr elegantly sueezes great breadth and depth in a mere 102 pages mystery All about Us love tragedy humour sociological analysisost opportunities friendship art and general beauty It s a nuanced mix that deftly weaves a few dark undercurrents in a rural idyll How in 1920 a penniless survivor of shell shock whose wife has gone finds peace and contentment in the ordinaryYes it describes a single month with ittle backstory even ess afterstory and not much happening but Birkin emerges from Oxgodby changed for the better and so did I a Noni Speaks Up little Picture Entrance to a country church of my childhood Angela Davison Enemy Country That s the phrase the war veteran thinks of when he arrives in the small poor Yorkshire village that is starveling country He plans toive simply and be happy so that afterwards maybe I won t be a casualty any He believes in hope and the Handbags and Gladrags locals are interested interesting and friendly The steady rhythm ofiving and working a foot in both present and past uickly infuses contentment Birkin is not the only outsider There s the grumpy vicar Keach who resents the disruption caused by the restoration his very young and beautiful wife Alice and finally Charles Moon All four are 30 or younger though Keach in particular seems olderLove the CountryBirkin a Londoner discovers a visceral empathy with and appreciation of nature and the countryside from his very first morning The rain had ceased and dew glittered on the graveyard grass gossamer drifted down air currents And as it An Egg-cellent Easter! (Barbie) lightened a vast and magnificentandscape unfolded He oves etting the summer soak into me by eating outside and soon feels part of the Wish Upon a Wedding landscape Thoseong warm days went on in majestic succession The Vale was heavy with We Got the Neutron Bomb: The Untold Story of L.A. Punk leaves motionless in the early morning black caves of shadow in the midday heat blurring the sound of trains hammering north and south Love of Detail and WorkmanshipBirkin s artistic sensitivity and training make him an excellent describer of furniture machines architecture and even people and the broader context of ancientives A single immense piece of furniture ike an internal buttress In any ordinary room it would have been grotesue but here it fell into perfect scale I ve no idea what it was It could have been a Baroue altar piece an oriental throne a gigantic examination exercise performed by a cabinet maker s apprentice When he realises the full wonder of what he s revealing Birkin slows down ike a reader who doesn t want to finish a brilliant book He becomes Like a greedy child who hoards the best chocolates in the box Each day I used to avoid taking in the whole by giving exaggerate attention to the particular I Richard Nixon: The Life love Carr s attention to detail and workmanshipMedieval Murals Two demons with delicately furredegs clutched him one snapping his right wrist whilst his mate split his right wrist whilst his mate split with shears That description reminded me of some of the grisly medieval Romanesue religious art in the Museu Nacional d Art de Catalunya including these I photographed a few years agoPicture Detail of Apse of Santa Maria d neu merely intriguingAndPicture Altar frontal from Avi positively horrificOdd CouplingsBirkin considers odd couples than once especially Keach and Alice and how utterly different they are at home compared with elsewhere He and Moon are a very different pair not a couple both are ex army spending the summer funded by a beuest from Miss Hebron in Moon s case he has to find the missing grave of an #ancestor But Moon I Am Cow, Hear Me Moo! lives in a hole while Birkinives up a adder #But Moon ives in a hole while Birkin Puppet Master lives up aadder the belfry There are other pairs and opposites not just human including church and chapel town and country There s also a woman proffering apples to a man in the church You can t get Old Testament than thatDark and LightThis story is infused with summer sun Ah those days for many years afterwards their happiness haunted me Haunted Yes because sunlight creates shadows And horror is dark all along Birkin survived Passchendaele but was Swoon: The Heartthrob Activity Book for Good Color-Inners as Well as Beginners left with a stammer not reflected in dialogue intermittent facial palsy on one side and no wife There is forbiddenove of at Janae (Blacktop, least two kinds coddling it up in myself missed opportunities and a casual revelation by a third party that forever affects a friendship I m not uite sure what message Carr intended with theast of those view spoilerBirkin earns that Moon was dishonourably discharged for homosexuality He says he doesn t mind but from that time on things were never uite the same between us hide spoiler This will ikely enter the ist of my all time favorite books I found myself saying glorious several times and then stopping to thank my parents for instilling in me their ove of reading That brought me so belatedly to this treasure of a bookI know
That The Basic Storythe basic story well known the young re patriated soldier spending a month in the English countryside at a small chapel tasked to uncover a centuries old mural But the tale is so much than that because the prose is so much than that Carr captures moments in so many ways One small moment The sound of bees foraging from flower to flower seemed to deepen the stillness p42I ve experienced such moments but never seen it written soAnd a onger evocation of the and he was coming to ove There was so much time that marvelous summer Day after day mist rose from the meadow as the sky ightened and hedges barns and woods took shape until at Why Diets Make Us Fat last theong curving back of the hills Dont Hex with Texas (Enchanted, Inc., lifted away from the Plain It was a sort of stage magic Now you don t see indeed there is nothing to see Nowook Day after day it was Spanish Dagger (China Bayles, like that and each morning Ieaned on the yard gate dragging at my first fag and I d ike to. Penguin Decades bring you the novels that helped shape modern Britain When they were published some were bestsellers some were considered scandalous and others were simply misunderstood All represent their time and hel. ,
Sations with the Moon the azy hours of a summer inexorably crawling towards a perennial exuberance the intoxicating scent of serendipitous friendship of wistful North love sweet fleeting unattainable of wanting to memorize the shape of an oval face before it is tooate the devastating certainty of knowing it is gone forever To feel pain means to be alive and the resolution to pursue happiness is a courageous vow that Thomas is willing to take The fallen man of the mural painting couldn t have imagined that a fellow artist would recover his masterpiece ost to the world under whitewash for than five centuries Thomas Birkin never envisioned being haunted by happiness fifty years after a ife altering moment that presented itself wrapped in balustrades of washed out color And there was no way I could have known the heart wrenching journey to the past that awaited me in barely a hundred pages Do we glorify the past in order to cope with the present as a form of self protection I suppose we do But if giving way to nostalgic reverie allows us not to regret missed opportunites that choke us in waves of self pity and prompts us to be grateful for small streaks of fortune instead I will settle on melancholy any given day Only then the tugging at the heart for moments gone for good might Dead Giveaway leave a sweetingering taste in our Andrew Lost In the Kitchen lipsike the promise of an unsealed kiss of not suandered words that might Strange Son: Two Mothers, Two Sons, and the Quest to Unlock the Hidden World of Autism last the span of aifetime Can you remember a time in your Nope life when you were truly happy If I search my memories I find a sixteen year old girl sitting in a canoe with a boy fishing at two o clock in the morning by the eerieight of the midnight sun on a glassy Rejected Rejected Rejected lake near Whitehorse Yukon Everything is tingly and pulsing with youth Iook a Listening: The Last Poems of Margaret Avison little and see myself choking back tears on a hospital bed with my beloved grandfather hearing him say I m still your grandpa Robin knowing I would never see him again but feeling gratitude for the absolute purity of the moment Iook again and watch myself a brand new mother rocking my baby during one of our midnight meetings in the stillness the newborn puzzle piece nested against my breast Unconditional Good Things Happen Slowly: A Life in and Out of Jazz love was being hatched in my heartThose moments are the jewels ofifeJL Carr s novella explores such perfect times through the character of Tom Birkin Set in the summer of 1920 but related in 1978 an older Birkin is remembering the month during which he is hired to uncover a medieval mural in a church in northern England Damaged by time served in WWI and a bad marriage Birkin arrives at Oxgodby fairly shattered and alone This time serves as a salve on his heart a reminder of the beauty of art but also of nature of simple pastoral idyls and country people As he uncovers the painting he is also uncovering the masterpiece of his self his wonder at the world and whatever Buck: A Memoir lies ahead I had a feeling of immense content and if I thought at all it was that I dike this to go on and on no one going no one coming autumn and winter always Oh, the Things They Invented!: All About Great Inventors loitering around the corner the summer s ripenessasting forever nothing disturbing the even tenor of my wayThe story is bittersweet though and as much as my heart swells it is also anguished The perfect time comes to its inevitable conclusion The #time ike any other becomes anthologized into history That which felt never ending ended Chances ran #like any other becomes anthologized into history That which felt never ending ended Chances ran Opportunities untaken But the older Birkin is aware that perfect moments can stretch into an imperfect ife Things could have turned out differently but would they have Five Days Left lasted Is it better that the memories remain totally untainted a glimmering reminder thatife can be hopeful warm and gentle This reader was aching for Searching for Robert Johnson lovers to kiss in the church belfry but instead the fleeting month is chastely frozen in timeike a painting full of promise and optimism If I had stayed there would I have always been happy No I suppose not People move away grow older die and the bright belief that there will be another marvellous thing around each corner fades It is now or never we must snatch at happiness as it flies But then inevitably as happens to most of us first through Saturday umpiring ater Sunday chapel I was drawn into the changing picture of later Sunday chapel I was drawn into the changing picture of itself But oddly what happened outside was ike a dream It was inside the still ch You re happy Mr Birkin You re not on edge any Is it because the work is going well Of course she was right Anyway partly right Standing up there on the platform before a great work of art feeling kinship with its creator cosily knowing that I was sort of impresario conjuring and teasing back his work after four hundred years of darkness But that wasn t all of it There was this weather this Buzz: A Graphic Reality Check for Teens Dealing With Drugs and Alcohol landscape thick woods roadsides deep in grass and wild flowers And to the south and north of the Valeow hills frontiers of a mysterious countryBeautifully written poetic small story Like many Goodreads friends here I would describe this What does it take to be happy First of all it takes tranuility And so often the happiest days of our ife are those when nothing crucial happenedSo a month in the country was a real treat to the protagonist and A Month in the Country is a real treat to a readerWell we all see things with different eyes and it gets you nowhere hoping that even one in a thousand will see things your wayThe novel
Is Also A Deepestalso a deepest on the nature of art and history and the harmony of ifeWe can ask and ask but we can t have again what once seemed ours for ever the way things By the Lake of Sleeping Children looked that church alone in the fields a bed on a belfry floor a remembered voice aoved face They ve gone and you can only wait for the pain to passHuman kindness is the best cure for Bill Carey Rides West/The Town No Guns Could Tame/Bowdrie Rides a Coyote Trail loneliness and melancholy This is the sort of efficient novella that demands a short incisive review full of judiciously chosen adjectives and presumably that s what it will get if MJ ever gets around to reading it In my case however it s unfortunately one of those texts that is going to send me off on aong personal anecdote for which I offer advance apologiesWhen I was twenty one I ended up for a variety of reasons Erano guerrieri living in uito Ecuador The city in. Mer uncovering a huge medieval wall painting in the village church of Oxgodby Joined by another veteran employed toook for a grave outside the churchyard he uncovers old secrets that bear on his experiences of confli.