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A Month in the Country (New York Review Books Classics) Paperback – October 31, 2000
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Carr devotes many fewer words to Tom's time in the war. The vicar's wife tries to ask him about it. "'What about hell on earth?' she said. I told her I'd seen it and lived there and that, mercifully, they usually left an exit open." His healing consists of not talking about his past--perhaps a revolutionary notion these days. A Month in the Country, with its paean to a lost, good place, oddly recalls Alain-Fournier's Le Grand Meaulnes. But where that novel was elliptical, Carr's work values clarity and simplicity above all. These are rare enough qualities, but to find them in a novel of romance and healing is a rarer pleasure still. --Claire Dederer
From Library Journal
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Top Customer Reviews
It tells the story of Tom Birkin, recently returned from WW I, who goes to the town of Oxgodby to restore a medieval wall-painting in an old church. Over the course of his time there, he gets absorbed into the life of the town, falls in love, learns (and reveals) something about the nature of art, and the healing power of both art and love.
That makes it sound as if the book's some sort of mushy new-age blather, and it's not at all. It's a short and profoundly entertaining novel. I would have loved to have been assigned this in a high-school english class, because (1) Carr's vocabulary is remarkable, and the occasional strange words he uses are worth looking up (e.g., "sneck"), and (2) it has a lot of the sort of structure that one is forced to write about in English classes ("contrast the relationship between Birkin and his work with that between Moon and his...") but which in this book actually contributed something to the story -- there are multiple parallel threads in the book, and their inteweaving makes it richer. I could've written a decent essay about that...
The narrator is a disfigured veteran of World War I. His wife has left him; his employer retired making this his first job as a self-employed professional. His life is contrasted with that of another veteran hired to find an ancient grave. The friendship of the veterans is the first step in reconnecting to the world. Along the way, a vicar and his wife, the family of the stationmaster, an organist, a dying girl all make their way into and effect the narrator's life.
The author's writing style fits perfectly with the story, creating a literary gem worthy of your attention.
Lovely and beautiful in its simplicity, the tale of two great war survivors healing their battle-scarred minds in the village of Oxgodby is one of my favourite novel.
Watching the tape recently, I was strucked by the difference between the Birkin in the movie and that of the book. The Birkin in the movie is one-dimensional and the people around him, save Alice Keach is unpleasant. To exorcise this image of the Birkin of the movie, I re-read the book again and was immensely pleased at the Birkin of the novel, alive and likeable but certainly not flawless. The Alice Keach of the world would definitely falls head over heel for him.
The beauty of the novel is further enhanced by the portrayal of the healing process in Birkin's nightmarish experiences as a war veteran. He and Moon are not your typical citizens from a nation of victims, where crisis counsellors would intervene and encourage those ceaseless and endless whinings whenever fate deal them a bad hand, instead they resolved the inner demons through themselves, in their own unique way.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This was a most enjoyable read, and reflected the mores and morals of the time. A beautiful use of the English language.Published 2 months ago by David Leigh-Howarth
I love books about English villages, and they can be as slow moving as they want as long as there's plenty of charm and rich characters. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Robert Van Buskirk
This is one of the greatest short novels of the 20th century!Published 7 months ago by M. Carpenter
This is an interesting book to complete a library about the Great War.
This is about how one man rebuilds a life after the war has essentially metaphorically destroyed... Read more
Bring what you desire to this book - an inclination to find romance, to be healed, to be calmed, to be lulled by a perfect summer, to be alone, to be among new friends - and you... Read morePublished 8 months ago by Pop Bop
Beautifully written with clarity and humor. ... J.L. Carr whisks the reader back in time to Oxgodby, a remote English village in the north of England in the years following "... Read morePublished 8 months ago by R. Kyle
A Month in the Country by J.L. Carr is, as one reviewer wrote, a novel about the resurrection of one Thomas Birkin, a wounded veteran of Passchendaele, one of WWI's savage... Read morePublished 9 months ago by John Mccarthy