I was so sad to hear tonight that Maeve Binchy had died. She was one of my favourite authors. Her books weren't intellectual masterpieces, but neither were they just airport fodder. I think she was the original chick lit author, who influenced my other favourite irish writers Marian Keyes and Cathy Kelly. She told a good story and once you started reading one of her books. you couldn't stop.
I have re-read Circle of Friends many, many times and it is my utimate comfort read. I even took it as one of three books on my gap year abroad. My desert island choice :-) the film "Circle of Friends" on You tube! is also great, starring a young Minnie Driver and Alan Cummings as the creepy anti-hero.
The last book I read of hers was Minding Frankie which made me cry buckets in a hormonal haze after coming home from hospital after having Patrick! Here she is talking about "Minding Frankie"
She was born in Dalkey, County Dublin and many of her books her Dublin and Dun Laoghaire as their backdrop, which delighted me when I met my lovely Alan, as he comes from Dun Laoghaire. The first Maeve Binchy novels I read ("Light a penny candle", "Cooper Beech") were borrowed from my Grandma, who also loved them, and I "inherited" her paperbacks when she died. And for me these novels were my bridge between childhood and adult reading. Back in the day there was no teenage fiction! Maeve Binchy, Agatha Christie, Jeffrey Archer and Barbara Taylor Bradford were my guides. And only Maeve has stood the test of time.
Her final novel "Week in Winter" will apparently come out this October. It will be bitter sweet to read.