Tuesday, July 31, 2012


RIP, Maeve Binchy

A really lovely author of very funny, sweet, intermittently tragic and extremely enjoyable novels about Irish women and their lives has passed away at the age of 72.

If you've never read her work, I strongly recommend starting with Light a Penny Candle, The Copper Beech, Circle of Friends* and Firefly Summer. Which is mostly saying, read all of them, and also buy them for your mother. These books are catnip for mothers.

*Yes, that one. The book is way better.

25 Comments / Post A Comment

Lexa Lane

Oh. My heart hurts. My copy of Circle of Friends is so tattered I can't lend it out any more for fear it will be destroyed and I'll have to start breaking in a new copy, and I still remember buying Evening Class in the Heathrow airport on the way home from France when I was 14. (It's not quite as tattered as Circle of Friends, but it's getting there.)

oh well never mind

@Lexa Lane
Evening Class! That's my favourite.


What an amazing post@y

Sella Turcica

I should call my mom.

Briony Fields

@Delighted by User This was my exact reaction! My mom and I bonded over Maeve Binchy books and she always sent me a copy when a new one came out. I always liked that, even after I sort of outgrew the books. I always read the new ones faithfully, though.


@Delighted by User That's exactly what I thought. What the hell am I going to buy her for Christmas now? Jeez, seriously though, so sorry to hear this.


awww! I'll admit her books were kind of the same thing over and over but I just adored Circle of Friends when I was in high school.

the little c

@Yarnybarny Right? Like, every one of her plots can be summed up with [spoilers, obviously]: Irish women are friends! Adultery! Miscarriage! THE END. Or at least that's what I recall from reading them around junior high age.

oh well never mind

@the little c
All good-looking men are BAD and will CHEAT. Go for the quiet unassuming one and at least he won't break your heart!


@moosette Right? Her books made me terrified of too-handsome men.


Aw man, such great stories.


Wow this is super depressing. I read through her entire ouvre when I was around, 13? 14? Circle of Friends and the Glass Lake were my favorite. Those cheesy books taught me how to love!


@Steph Oh God, The Glass Lake. I read that book to pieces when I was 15. Like, it literally came apart into 3 coverless pieces that I continued to re-read for years.

Genghis Khat

@Steph The Glass Lake is like, perfection. SO CRAZY!

sarah girl

The only book of hers I've read is Tara Road, which SCARRED me at the time - it's partly about one of those awful situations where a person thinks she's happily married, up until her husband runs away with his pregnant mistress and by the way, ALL OF YOUR FRIENDS KNEW ABOUT IT. Aaaahhhhhh my worst nightmare.

That said, the book was very well-written, and I have much respect for writers of mom-lit, especially good ones!

Cat named Virtute

I told my mom on the phone last night, and we both remembered how much my grandmother loved Maeve Binchy. My grandma died eight years ago this month, and it's nice to have little reminders of the things she loved, though so sad, of course, for Maeve Binchy's family and readers.


Hey now, Circle of Friends is an excellent movie too! At least, I thought so when I was 11. RIP Maeve.


I was at the bookstore yesterday, and like, all her books were on the bargain table, and then I came home and found out she died!


My name is Aisling because of my mom's love for Maeve Binchy's Light a Penny Candle!


@AMc Aisling is a beautiful name!

Genghis Khat

@AMc I just reread that book like, a month ago. So gooood. Aisling forever!


Oh no! I stole my mom's GIANT hardcover copy of Circle of Friends when I was 13 and I have never given it back. It's the written equivalent of comfort food - totally readable, entertaining, warm and lovely. Ms. Binchy could really spin a yarn.

Jennifer Culp

I'm so sorry to hear this. She gave me a lot of pleasurable reading time and important intro to teenage years advice (bite Nan's tactic and act like you know what you're doing). I'm going to start rereading my collection tonight in her memory.


@Jennifer Culp Despite Nan being, you know... kind of a twat... I was always obsessed with her. So cool! So breezy! So confident! So meticulously dressed! Sometimes when I am a total slob with heaps of clothes on the floor, I think, "Nan took the time to shoe polish her purses and stuff her shoes with newspapers every night. You can hang up this shirt." Happily, I do not also entertain her logic when dealing with friends' boyfriends.


Really want to read that book.

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