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A Few of the Girls

Cover of A Few of the Girls

A Few of the Girls

Stories
From Maeve Binchy's earliest writings to the most recent, her work is filled with wisdom and common sense and also a sharp, often witty voice that is insightful and reaches out to her readers around the world and of all ages. Whether it is one of her best-selling novels or a short story, Maeve shows us that times may have changed, but people often remain the same: they fall in love, sometimes unsuitably; they have hopes and dreams; they have deep, long-standing friends whose secrets are shared; they go on holidays and celebrate new jobs . . .

A Few of the Girls
is a glorious collection of the very best of her short story writing, stories that were written over the decades--some published in magazines, others for friends as gifts, many for charity benefits. The stories are all filled with the signature warmth and humor that have always been an essential part of Maeve's appeal.

From the Hardcover edition.
From Maeve Binchy's earliest writings to the most recent, her work is filled with wisdom and common sense and also a sharp, often witty voice that is insightful and reaches out to her readers around the world and of all ages. Whether it is one of her best-selling novels or a short story, Maeve shows us that times may have changed, but people often remain the same: they fall in love, sometimes unsuitably; they have hopes and dreams; they have deep, long-standing friends whose secrets are shared; they go on holidays and celebrate new jobs . . .

A Few of the Girls
is a glorious collection of the very best of her short story writing, stories that were written over the decades--some published in magazines, others for friends as gifts, many for charity benefits. The stories are all filled with the signature warmth and humor that have always been an essential part of Maeve's appeal.

From the Hardcover edition.
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Excerpts-
  • From the book The Bargain

    When Cara met Jim at a party the rest of the world seemed to dis­appear; they stood looking at each other with delight and listening to each other in fascination, as if they were old friends.
    When the evening was over, they knew they would meet again and everyone else knew as well.
    So they met the following day for lunch, and that turned into a walk beside the canal, and they spent so long over a cup of coffee that the waitress had to ask them to order another one or leave.
    They were both aged twenty-eight, they loved travel and jazz and cooking and dogs.
    His mother had died three years ago. Her father had died at the same time.
    Jim knew the fellow who was giving the party because he had been on the same hurling team as him, way back when they were kids.
    Cara knew him because he was a driving instructor and he had helped her to get her test.
    Cara was a short story writer. She had gone to the party to cel­ebrate having finished her latest collection of stories.
    Jim sold agricultural machinery. He had come to Dublin to celebrate a big sale and his father making him a partner in the business.
    Finally, they hit one problem.
    Cara lived in Dublin. Jim lived two hundred miles away in the country.
    He was going back home the following morning. So they talked nearly all night about what they would do and finally, exhausted, they agreed that Cara would make the journey to Jim's part of the world the next weekend.
    They made a bargain.
    If Cara hated it she was to say so. If she thought that she could manage to write her stories there, and that she wouldn't miss her Dublin life too much, then she would say that and they would get married as soon as possible.
    That's how sure they were in less than forty-eight hours.
    So they both waited nervously for Cara's visit.
    It involved a train journey, followed by a bus trip. Jim was standing there waiting at the bus stop. Cara's heart leaped when she saw him look anxiously at the bus in case she might not be on board. She saw the smile light up his face. He was so generous and warm.
    Please may this not be a desperate place, she prayed silently.
    Jim couldn't leave his father and the business they had both built up. She knew that. And she would be the one who should move. She lived at home with her mother and a big family of broth­ers and sisters. Her younger sister would get Cara's bedroom. Life would go on without her. But Jim could not possibly leave home. His father and his four sisters depended on him to keep the busi­ness going.
    Surely it couldn't be too bad a place? It had produced Jim, after all. But the countryside looked very wild and woolly as the bus had hurtled along. Frightening-looking goats, or sheep maybe, but probably goats. They had terrifying curvy horns. Small, rough fields divided by stone walls . . . It was very far from anywhere, anywhere normal. But she nailed a smile on her face and he held her in his arms for a long time.
    "I was afraid you might not come," he said.


    They drove together down one of the four streets in the town and out into the countryside.
    The house where Jim lived had old roses in the garden and sweet peas, and the grass had been freshly cut.
    "I did that this morning," Jim said. "I was too excited to do anything else. They wouldn't let me near work in case I gave the machinery away."
    His father was stooped over a stick, standing at the door to welcome them.
    "He told me that you were a lovely girl, Cara, and he didn't exaggerate," he said with a big, broad smile just like his son's.
    Jim's sisters were in the kitchen, trying not to look too eager to...
About the Author-
  • MAEVE BINCHY was born in County Dublin and educated at the Holy Child convent in Killiney and at University College, Dublin. After a spell as a teacher she joined The Irish Times. Her first novel, Light a Penny Candle, was published in 1982, and she went on to write more than twenty books, all of them best sellers. Several have been adapted for film and television, most notably Circle of Friends and Tara Road, which was an Oprah's Book Club selection. She was married to the writer and broadcaster Gordon Snell for thirty-five years, and died in 2012 at the age of seventy-two.

    www.maevebinchy.com

Reviews-
  • Pamela Miller, Minneapolis Star Tribune

    "A short story by Binchy is immediately recognizable for its blessed brevity, swift pace, poignant wit and unfailingly wise and gentle psychology. This posthumously published collection gathers 36 stories from various nook's in Binchy's writing life. . . Honestly, every one is marvelous. . . . A Few of the Girls is a string of gems, and, despite its title, it is not just fiction for women, any more than it is just a book for Irish and English readers."

  • Julie Hale, BookPage "Exploring the complex nature of relationships in the melodic prose that became her trademark, Binchy charts the dynamics of romance, the politics of family and the stipulations of friendship. When it comes to capturing the caprices of the human heart, she's unbeatable. Readers will recognize themselves in her nuanced portrayals of women and men whose goals and regrets, dreams and disappointments never feel less than true-to-life. There's no better antidote to a raw March evening than a dose of vintage Binchy."
  • Eleanora Buckbee, Everday eBook "The stories cover a broad range of human experiences for which Binchy had a unique talent for expressing . . . There are no flashy literary pyrotechnics, just solid, old-fashioned storytelling. Binchy displays a deep understanding of human nature that strikes a balance between idealists and realists, the cynical and the hopeful . . . At times whimsical, at times somber, Binchy had a keen sense for the nuances of relationships, and the inherent contradictions and quirks of human behavior. A Few of the Girls is a fitting tribute to a beloved and much-missed writer."
  • Vicki Briner, Library Journal "Binchy's unique voice is reminiscent of a letter from an old friend."
  • Margaret Flanagan, Booklist "In true Binchy fashion, these gentle stories revolve around universal themes of love, loyalty, friendship, compassion, and perseverance. The exploration of human relationships never ceases to fascinate and the author's ability to empathetically depict the ups and downs of ordinary people living in authentic circumstances translates well to a briefer format. Tying all the stories together is, of course, their trademark comfy settings, and devoted fans will relish another armchair visit to Ireland."
  • Tmoura Gardener, The Baton Rouge Advocate "Short stories that thrill, entertain and delight readers like only Binchy can. . . . Without a doubt, Binchy is a masterful storyteller. In this work is a variety of stories that appeal to the heart and mind."
  • Irish Independent
    "The stories bring to life well-developed characters, often in the space of a few paragraphs, and brim with Maeve's warmth and common sense. She writes particularly well on loneliness, and about the hopes and fears of young people on the cusp of adulthood."
  • Image "This new collection of Maeve's beloved short stories will force you to put down your smartphone in favour of your favourite armchair and this hardback. Featuring some of her best works it is a fine tribute to a very fine author."
  • Woman's Way "These stories are full of warmth and humour . . . easy to read and an ideal present for any of her fans."
  • RTE Guide

    "The wit, humanity and truths of dearly departed Maeve Binchy live on in her absorbing fictions as this collection of 41 stories proves."
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    Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
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