Posted 20 hours ago

A Month in the Country (Penguin Modern Classics)

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Good-humoured, unpretentious and a bit eccentric, it's more like having a well-read friend than a subscription to a literary review.

I have really enjoyed your review, Jacqui, and have been reading it alongside Melissa’s – you both make a great case for what I already knew to be a good book.This sort of book is an ideal find, a secret joy that sustains you through many reading duds and radiates its warmth outwards for a long time after the final page is reached. It is written from Birkin’s perspective, looking back as an old man to a golden summer of his youth, an interlude between the horrors of war and the resumption of his real life; a brief period of suspended time given to him to heal his mind and perhaps his soul. The plot concerns Tom Birkin, a World War I veteran employed to uncover a mural in a village church that was thought to exist under coats of whitewash. The two stories merge in the last pages of the novel: the ‘falling man’ in the painting who is going down into the fires of Hell is almost certainly a portrait of the man whose bones Moon (helped by Birkin) finds in the dust of his shroud.

Quickly grabbing it, paying for it, and nestling it into my bag, I scurried home intending to read it there and then. A Month in the Country is Birkin’s story, but no character is given short shrift — not the 14-year-old Emily Clough, dying of consumption; not Rev. People move away, grow older, die, and the bright belief that there will be another marvellous thing around each corner fades. He worked for a year as an unqualified teacher — one of the lowest of the low in English education — at The sense of things lost to time is pronounced but not overplayed and there's a gently elegiac quality to the developing picture of a warm and hazy English countryside summer.As the summer draws to a close, Birkin completes his restoration, and his time in Oxgodby comes to an end. It is generally agreed that A Month in the Country is Carr’s masterpiece, although it is a very short novel (E. Next time you have an afternoon or, better yet, a day that stretches before you tempting you to read a book in one sitting, pick up “ A Month in The Country” by J. However, I found it rather slight overall, like a pretty piece of pastoral music, pleasant but not soul-stirring.

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