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Chestnut Street Paperback – February 3, 2015


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Anchor (February 3, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0804170088
  • ISBN-13: 978-0804170086
  • Shipping Weight: 13 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (680 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #108,556 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Binchy was well-known for creating realistic characters who interact in ordinary ways, in ordinary places. Before her death, in 2012, she had been jotting down short stories here and there featuring a number of different characters who all lived on the same Dublin street, Chestnut Street. This collection was gathered by her editors and approved by her family for publication. Readers meet plain Dolly, who wants to be just like her glamorous mother; Joyce, a model who gets her comeuppance on a blind date with an obese man; and Kevin Walsh, the taxi driver who keeps strangers’ secrets. Many of the stories are quite brief (as short as three pages) but serve as lovely character portraits. There is no common plotline moving the stories along, and some stories are stronger than others, but, overall, the collection works well, and her fans will be pleased.HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Binchy’s many fans are sure to line up to read this collection of short stories, especially since they know there will be no more. --Rebecca Vnuk --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Review

“[The] prose is lyrical, carrying the reader along like a lullaby. . . Each tale offers a lesson about our preconceived notions and prejudices, themes that have been a Binchy hallmark. . . For Maeve Binchy fans, Chestnut Street is a gift bequeathed to the reader.” —Mary Cadden, USA Today

“Has everything that makes Binchy special, in small delicious bites; her ability to capture human nature, describe individual life arcs, and breathe life into characters and settings really shines in these stories. . . . Chestnut Street is fictional, but the characters are very real. It’s Binchy’s gift, this ability to tell stories through characters we recognize, can relate to, want to know. . . We believe in her world, and the people she populates it with. They may be very Irish, and often concern themselves with Irish issues—but at heart, the problems are human and universal.” —Bobbi Dumas, NPR

“Short stories that reflect a sunnier but not saccharine take on life are literature’s rewards for time spent reading on the dark side. And Maeve Binchy’s Chestnut Street is such a reward. . . [These stories] reflect Binchy’s generous spirit and realism about human frailty, never ignoring it but always empathizing with its cause. . . . Though only a few pages long, each story is a complete and always perceptive narrative. . . . Binchy’s collection constitutes a bittersweet parting gift from a storyteller who understood the ‘strange justice of the world’ that shapes lives wherever they live. She is greatly missed.” —Judith Chettle, Richmond Times-Dispatch

“As befits a Binchy book, this one is packed with charming takes on people’s quirks and foibles, nosy neighbors and friendly ones. Binchy eloquently exposes and explores relationships between parents and children, husbands and wives, longtime and recently acquired friends.” —Daneet Steffens, The Boston Globe

“No one commits any murders or changes the course of world history. Instead, ordinary people deal with relatable problems, conveyed in compassionate, unadorned prose. . . . Here, as in her novels, Binchy’s humor furnishes a lot of the charm.” —Kathy Ewing, Cleveland Plain Dealer

“Here, life’s problems, blessings, landmarks and tragedies all happen in many and varied ways. And thankfully, Maeve Binchy’s touch is apparent in each and every story. She will be sorely missed in the world of storytelling.” —Kate Ayers, Bookreporter.com

“Gives us one last extraordinary look at ordinary people as they struggle with family relationships, romances gone awry, and the possibility for a better future. . . . One finds here insightful observations about human nature—all with Binchy’s thoughtful and loving touch that will be sorely missed.” —Publishers Weekly

“Binchy was well-known for creating realistic characters who interact in ordinary ways, in ordinary places. . . . Her many fans are sure to line up to read this.” —Booklist

“A posthumous collection of loosely linked stories from the much cherished Irish writer who died in 2012. . . . For Binchy aficionados, a late indulgence.” —Kirkus Reviews

More About the Author

Maeve Binchy is the author of numerous best-selling books, including Nights of Rain and Stars, Quentins, Scarlet Feather, Circle of Friends, and Tara Road, which was an Oprah's Book Club selection. She has written for Gourmet; O, The Oprah Magazine; Modern Maturity; and Good Housekeeping, among other publications. She and her husband, Gordon Snell, live in Dalkey, Ireland, and London.

Customer Reviews

The characters were interesting as was each story.
Dr. Irwin B. Suchoff
It is a collection of short stories with all of the characters having some tie to Chestnut Street.
happy reader
Each story left me wanting more, which is why I enjoy her books so much.
Michele Miller
This item has not been released yet and is not eligible to be reviewed. Reviews shown are from other formats of this item.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

115 of 116 people found the following review helpful By E. M. Griffith VINE VOICE on February 26, 2014
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
***this review is based on an uncorrected proof of the soon-to-be-published hardcover edition***

A big thank you to Gordon Snell, Maeve's beloved husband, and to Alfred A. Knopf for allowing us to enjoy another brilliant short story collection by Binchy. 'Chestnut Street' (due to be released spring 2014) isn't a novel, but rather 36 short stories written by the author over a period of years about the residents of a fictional neighborhood in Ireland. Since my sons were very young, I've told them every person they'll ever meet has a story to tell. Everyone is someone's family member or friend, and we all lead interesting lives in one way or another. No one is insignificant. Maeve Binchy had a unique gift; the characters she wrote about felt real... as if the reader knew them from some facet of daily life. Such is the case when you read 'Chestnut Street'.

Joyce, for example, could be a friend or co-worker as she gets ready for a dinner with Leonard and Sally, who are trying to fix her up with new neighbor, Norman. Or there's Kevin, who drives a cab... how often do we wonder about the lives of those working jobs that often render them too easily invisible? Molly is trying to regain her footing after a heartbreaking divorce. Nuala can't quite accept her daughter, Katie's, fiancé. 'Chestnut Street' illustrates everyday events so we readers can still glimpse the magic in the mundane Binchy was so expert at describing. She understood life and people as few people do.

I highly recommend adding this short story collection to a shelf of Maeve Binchy's best works. You'll want to hang on to 'Chestnut Street' long after you've finished reading it the first time, because you'll pour a cup of tea or mug of coffee, open its pages again, and snuggle in for quiet, peaceful moments throughout the years. Much in the same way we revisit photo albums or scrapbooks and smile at remembered stories.
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61 of 62 people found the following review helpful By Loves Books in MD VINE VOICE on March 18, 2014
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
.... then you know what to expect & you will enjoy this book. What the reader should know is that this isn't a novel, but a collection of short stories about people who live on Chestnut Street. The stories don't really intertwine much, other than a random comment about a neighbor mentioned in a prior chapter. If you are someone who has heard about the wonderful books written by Maeve Binchy and want to read your first, I would recommend you start with a different book - one of her complete novels. While Chestnut Street is standard Maeve Binchy with unique but believable characters, her novels are much more engrossing with interwoven stories and you're not starting and stopping with each chapter.

I enjoyed Chestnut Street for several reasons - first, it was no different than the previous books written by Maeve Binchy with all her insights about people and characters and giving you a lot of story in a short shapter - what an imagination and knowledge of people the woman had! While reading this book, I realized that one of the things that I liked about her books was that the really good, humble and often largely overlooked or used people seemed to triumph in the end and the not-so-good, self-satisfied or bad people typically got their just desserts, sometimes served by the really good people - and this is most satisfying.

I knew this book had been put together after her passing and was a little afraid it wouldn't be up to her usual storytelliing standards, but I have to say it drew me in and kept me happily entertained on a long day when I needed something that would hold my interest - and I was not disappointed. I am sad that there will be no more Maeve Binchy books to look forward to, but am glad they gave us Chestnut Street. So as I started my review - if you're a Maeve Binchy fan, you'll enjoy this one - maybe not as much as we'd have loved to have had a complete novel, but this was a nice, unexpected gift.
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51 of 51 people found the following review helpful By D. Williams VINE VOICE on March 15, 2014
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Maeve Binchy passed away in 2012, but, fortunately, her husband Gordon Snell decided, after many “not now’s” from Ms. Binchy while she lived, the time was right to publish this collection of short stories.

CHESTNUT STREET is a collection of thirty-six short stories all set on Chestnut Street, which, as Mr. Snell points out in the preface, is a fictional street in Dublin. Each story is from the point of view of a different resident on this horseshoe-shaped street, some adults, some teenagers, some children. Those who are familiar with Binchy’s work have met a few of these friends before and should be happy to see them again. The stories vary in length; one is a mere five pages, but some are almost novellas. I would say that the average length is about ten to fifteen pages – a fairly typical length for a short story. The stories are all about life itself and often have a lesson, but they aren’t preachy – simply warm and wise, in Binchy’s singular way.

Readers will have to keep in mind that these stories were not all written at the same time; some are older than others. Mr. Snell notes in the preface that Ms. Binchy wrote these stories over a long period of time. Ms. Binchy gives readers just enough information to let us know when we might be in the 1960’s or when we might be in the 2010’s, and many of the character types, incidents, and lessons learned hold true for any time.

I had hoped that Mr. Snell would find some more of Ms. Binchy’s work lurking in her desk drawer or computer files, and I’m glad he did. I hope he’ll keep looking for even more!
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