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The Lilac Bus Audio, Cassette – Unabridged, Audiobook

3.6 out of 5 stars 180 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In the first eight interrelated stories of the dozen that comprise her new collection, Binchy ( Circle of Friends ) introduces eight people who travel on a lilac-colored bus from Dublin every Friday night to spend the weekend in their hometown, Rathdoon. Each of the seven passengers and the bus driver is the protagonist of an individual story; taken together, the tales have the cohesion of a novelette. Though these people have known one another for years, they are totally unaware of the compulsions, anxieties, heartaches and dreams of their fellow travelers. As is gradually revealed, everyone on the bus has a secret; thus the stories have the pull of taffy: having finished one, the reader is hooked on discovering the essence of yet another protagonist's existence. Each story delivers a kick of surprise--and often more than one--as Binchy peels back the layers of her characters' lives with empathy, compassion and not a little humor. In the process, the tales coalesce to portray the social order of Rathdoon. The last four stories are set in Dublin, with a new, equally engrossing cast. Although the pieces differ widely in social setting and circumstance, each features a woman who learns the strength of her mettle through adversity. This gallery of memorable characters again confirms Binchy as a beguiling raconteur. BOMC featured selection.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Library Journal

Two collections of stories, "The Lilac Bus" and "Dublin 4," make up Binchy's latest book, a showcase for her marvelous storytelling ability. "The Lilac Bus" consists of eight connected stories, each one a revealing portrait of a Dublin worker who goes home to the outlying town of Rathdoon each weekend in Tom Fitzgerald's minibus. Torn between the anonymous independence of Dublin and the claustrophobic safety of Rathdoon, many characters lead secretive double lives: Dee has a married lover, Rupert is gay, Kev is a thief. The more fully realized stories in "Dublin 4" have only their Dublin setting in common. Hard hitters dealing with alcoholism, unwed pregnancy, and an unfaithful husband are lightened by the humorous "Flat in Ringsend" about a young girl's stab at independence in her first flat. While not as completely satisfying as Binchy novels ( Circle of Friends, LJ 12/90), this is absorbing, entertaining reading with characters to care about. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 7/1/91.
- Patricia Ross, Westerville P.L., Ohio
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Audio Cassette
  • Publisher: Chivers Word for Word Audio Books; Unabridged edition (December 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0754075125
  • ISBN-13: 978-0754075127
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 4.4 x 2.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (180 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,393,849 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Dr W. Richards on May 27, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
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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Format: Mass Market Paperback
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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Format: Mass Market Paperback
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.
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By A Customer on June 15, 1998
Format: Mass Market Paperback
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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Format: Mass Market Paperback
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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Format: Mass Market Paperback
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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The LIlac Bus surprised me, but not in a positive way. I have become accustomed to reading Maeve Binchy, and love her style and characters -- not complex, but for an easy, pleasant read. This book was in two parts. The first part gave tales of a minibus (and its driver) that transported its passengers back and forth to Dublin on a weekly basis. Each chapter told the story of the passenger. The second part of the book was a bunch of short stories, whose characters were not connected at all. It just seemed too disconnected, and not what I was expecting (even though I had read a few of the reviews before choosing).

I will not judge Binchy by this book, but rather by the many others I've read and enjoyed, and will continue to seek out other of her books, in effort to enjoy them as much as past reads. I am sad she had passed within the recent few years.
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