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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful series of character sketches
If you're expecting a novel like Echoes or Tara Road, don't buy this book. If, on the other hand, you admire Maeve Binchy's ability to tell you all about a character's life, personality, interests and dreams in a few pages, then this is the book for you. The Lilac Bus is a series of 'postcards' or brief character sketches of a number of different people, all of whom...
Published on May 27, 2000 by Dr W. Richards

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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, but not one of Binchey's best!
The characters are interesting and real. However, just as you really get to know each one and how their lives intertwine, you're left hanging in the end. I felt like I was taken to the edge of a cliff and then left there dangling!!!! The extra stories at the the end were disjointed and totally useless!!!!!
Published on August 28, 1999


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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful series of character sketches, May 27, 2000
If you're expecting a novel like Echoes or Tara Road, don't buy this book. If, on the other hand, you admire Maeve Binchy's ability to tell you all about a character's life, personality, interests and dreams in a few pages, then this is the book for you. The Lilac Bus is a series of 'postcards' or brief character sketches of a number of different people, all of whom travel home from Dublin each Friday evening on the same bus. Each has their own preoccupations and concerns, and Binchy manages to give us some fascinating insights into not only the individuals here, but into the tight little society to where they're travelling, with its own mores and habits.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, but not one of Binchey's best!, August 28, 1999
By A Customer
The characters are interesting and real. However, just as you really get to know each one and how their lives intertwine, you're left hanging in the end. I felt like I was taken to the edge of a cliff and then left there dangling!!!! The extra stories at the the end were disjointed and totally useless!!!!!
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing and unfinished, June 15, 1998
By A Customer
I loved "Evening Class". I enjoyed "Light a Penny Candle". Then I read "The Lilac Bus". It was very disappointing because it seemed incomplete and unfinished. For a writer who tied up all loose ends as carefully as Maeve Binchy did with the characters of "Evening Class", why does she leave the chartered bus travelers' histories just twisting in the wind? And then she follows this with several short stories that also appear to have no conclusions--I don't get it. I felt cheated.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Trip Across Ireland like the Lonely Planet!, January 9, 2000
This review is from: The Lilac Bus (Audio Cassette)
A vicarious adventure riding the Lilac Bus back and forth across Ireland, only the reader gets to crawl inside the lives of each of the passengers. Maeve Binchy's insights and exquisite writing are perfectly matched with Kate Binchy's melodious Irish tones. You will feel like you know these people and that the journey has been a special vacation. This story is the neatly crafted -- though it does not wrap every thing up in a nice tidy package at the end (that never really happens in real life)! Human, full of hope, humor, faith and caring, but if you want a thriller, look elsewhere.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not a collection of short stories, September 18, 2002
It's a fabulous book, engrossing, intriguing and everything. But there's an aspect I just can't agree with the publishers: "The Lilac Bus" is definitely not a story collection. "Victoria Line, Central Line" (also known as "London Transports"), "Dublin Four" or "This Year It Will Be Different" are good examples of this kind of work, not the case of "The Lilac Bus" though. A short story is isolated from the other ones in the same collection, each chapter has its own beginning and end, although they are normally gathered because they belong and are related to a main, general theme (e.g. several parties taking place at the end of the year/women who are professionally and financially independent). That's not the case in this story about eight people who travel every weekend from Dublin to the same destination (a pretty village called Rathdoon) in a lilac-colored minibus. All the characters have their lives more or less intertwined with the others. Each chapter belongs to a different character, but they are linked - an interesting resource similarly used by the author in "The Copper Beech", "Silver Wedding" or "Evening Class" - and these are all novels, not short stories!
Every time a new chapter starts the author goes back in time to focus on the same weekend, of course from a different perspective. That's because such weekend is particularly special to all of the passengers, so they are even connected in terms of chronology as well. They meet throughout the weekend, they think and wonder at times about these people who share the same bus, the chapters are not separate different stories. Obviously each of them have their own special reasons for travelling home, their own points of view, secrets and mysteries that are discovered as each chapter is unfolded. It's really silly to classify this book as a collection of short stories then. All right, it's much shorter than other very long novels such as "Light a Penny Candle" or "The Glass Lake" which are full of details. Never mind, it is just more compact, but still a very good, pleasant, enjoyable read. Call it a "short novel" if you prefer - but nobody needs to be an expert, a literature specialist to notice that's not a collection of short stories.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Short stories, June 12, 2004
This is a small collection of short stories featuring 8 people who travel from Dublin to a small village, each weekend.While they are minimally connected through village life, their lives are very different, some with huge family problems and others who are desperate to keep their Dublin lives separate. All of the stoeies are well presented but are just sketches of what couls be bigger, ongoing stories. I felt as though I was reading a plotting session..one which didn't come to anything. I guess that I'm old-fashioned enough to want a beginning, a middle and an end, and in this book, nothing is resolved, leaving the reader dangling mid story.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I was left wondering what comes next., August 3, 1999
This review is from: The Lilac Bus (Audio Cassette)
A story with so many perspectives always keeps you interested. Especillay when the characters are unique and have only one thing in common: where they come from. The story is well crafted and intertwined. Every person has their own view of their lives and the lives of the other passengers on the Lilac Bus. I had the feeling that although they all realized what in their life had gone wrong most of them hadn't really solved it. In other words I wanted closure for many of the characters.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Storytelling., August 22, 2001
I have, to my surprise, found some of Binchy's books to be a little sketchy. After reading Tara Road, I wondered if perhaps that book had been authored by a distant cousin or mayhap a complete stranger to Binchy's talent. I would not have recognized the author of that book to be the same artist who created The Lilac Bus. This is great storytelling. Each vignette represents a short period in the life of one of the characters. Since each character has their own voice in their own story and then is also "remembered" by the other characters in _their_ stories, you walk away from this novel feeling as if you had been to visit for a weekend. Many scenes are shared by the characters so you are able to experience many moments through different pairs of eyes each time for a deep, rich and very compelling experience.
This is probably my favorite Binchy novel along with Evening Class. I will hope for more like it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Eight strangers on a bus, April 2, 2002
By 
Karen Potts (Lake Jackson, Texas) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Every Friday Tom Fitzgerald loads up his lilac-colored bus with 7 passengers that he takes from Dublin to Rathdoon. They chat amiably and harbor unspoken feelings about one another, but none of them really knows the others. Each of the passengers, and Tom himself, have secret lives which they wish to keep hidden from the others. In this book, Maeve Binchy uncovers all of these secrets and leaves us to ponder how little we really do know about those we see and chat with on a regular basis. Some of the secrets are noble, but some are not and there is a poignancy about each one. Following the "Lilac Bus" are four unrelated stories where Binchy weaves her magic with quickly sketched characters and plot. Some end a bit abruptly and leave the reader wanting more, but Binchy fans will probably want to include this in their reading.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars These are people I'd like to live next door to., April 8, 1998
By A Customer
If you want Ireland without actually getting on a crowded Aer Lingus flight and going there, this book will give it to you. If you want to meet the treasures of the Celtic race without all the rain and the pub smoke, try dipping into The Lilac Bus. These are the real people of Ireland: funny, stingy, generous, troubled, but always interesting. Maeve Binchy may have just gone around her own home town and described the average inhabitants. You'll feel like you've gone and stayed with Binchy for a week or so and met all her fascinating neighbors.
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The Lilac Bus
The Lilac Bus by Maeve Binchy (Audio Cassette - Dec. 1997)
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