Maeve’s Times: In Her Own Words: Selected Writings from the ‘Irish Times’

Maeve Binchy, edited by Róisín Ingle. Knopf, $26.95 (400p) ISBN 978-0-385-35345-8
Binchy’s trademark warmth, humor, and humanity characterize this volume, which collects five decades of her reporting for the Irish Times (1960s–2000s). The wide-ranging topics reveal a journalist far more interested in people than places or events, though quiet references to IRA bombings, Thatcher’s Britain, the conflict in Cyprus, and second-wave feminism prove Binchy (Circle of Friends) was as savvy about politics she was about character. Wit, sarcasm, and big-heartedness emerge as hallmarks of Binchy’s “direct and uncluttered style.” Additionally, readers will enjoy her avid and unrestrained curiosity, the “wish to enter into other people’s lives,” which inspires her to eavesdrop on fellow diners, travelers, and passersby. “Wouldn’t you want to follow almost everyone home?” she remarks while observing people at a beach. While the collection makes an enjoyable read on the merit of humor alone, editor Ingle’s selections capture Binchy’s journalistic apprenticeship, record an intelligent woman’s perspective on a changing world, and offer entertaining glimpses of biography that Binchy fans will adore. Agent: Christine Green. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 08/04/2014
Release date: 10/28/2014
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