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A Month in the Country (Penguin Modern Classics)

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Above all, this is a beautifully written novel imbued with a strong sense of longing, a nostalgia for an idyllic world. James Lloyd Carr, born 1912, attended the village school at Carlton Miniott in the North Riding and Castleford Secondary School. Down below, another war-veteran with a secret history, Mr Moon, is excavating a 14 th century grave outside the church.

The film was originally intended for television, but its producer Kenith Trodd upgraded his original plan to a cinema feature.Hermione Lee was president of Wolfson College, Oxford from 2008 to 2017 and founding director of the Oxford Centre for Life Writing. However, I found it rather slight overall, like a pretty piece of pastoral music, pleasant but not soul-stirring. Immersed in the peace and beauty of the countryside and the unchanging rhythms of village life he experiences a sense of renewal and belief in the future.

The independent-minded quarterly magazine that combines good looks, good writing and a personal approach. This’ is the story of Birkin’s restoration of a medieval wall-painting; his friendship with the archaeologist Moon (himself doubly traumatised by his past); his integration into the community, particularly the Ellerbeck family; his falling for Alice, wife of the local clergyman (somewhat sketchily-drawn, but then again Birkin never really knows her, and, typical of the generosity of Carr’s vision, a late scene softens the way we see her husband Reverend Keach, the closest character to a ‘villain’ in the book). It describes the fragility, longing and loss so incredibly well and the last page is one of the best endings to a novel, similar in some ways to the end of 'Gatsby'.We use Google Analytics to see what pages are most visited, and where in the world visitors are visiting from. Published by Carr's Quince Tree Press, this is 1 of 3000 First printing copies, printed in this edition. So, the people around him engage in a subtle dance with Birkin to draw him gently and caringly into their lives and draw him out of himself a bit. 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. A Month is definitely small (just 85 pages in the Penguin Classics edition) but one of the marvels of this narrative is how, somehow, it still contains multitudes.

Janet Maslin, writing in The New York Times praised O'Connor's direction, suggesting it lent the film "a strong sense of yearning, as well as a spiritual quality more apparent in the look of the film than in its dialogue. His masterpiece, A Month in the Country, won the Guardian Fiction Prize in 1980, was short-listed for the Booker and was made into a film. They are “two of a kind”, both quietly dedicated to their specialised work, and both beneficiaries of the late old lady of the decaying manor-house, whose shrewd eye still seems to be overlooking their work.Birkin is fairly sure that, while he was away at war, Vinny had slept with other men too; now he knows for sure that she is serially unfaithful. Black and white illustrated frontispiece and the black-and-white illustrations within the text have all been created by Ian Stephens. Oxgodby, the name of the village, certainly echoes “Osgodby”, a village near where he went to school. Set in small Yorkshire village in the heady summer of 1920, Carr’s novella is narrated by Tom Birkin, a young man still dealing with the effects of shell-shock following the traumas of the First World War.

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