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A Month in the Country

J L Carr

5,574 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0855273283 / ISBN 13: 9780855273286
Published by The Harvester Press, Brighton, 1980
Condition: Fine Hardcover
From bunkembooks (Bolton, United Kingdom)

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About this Item

A fine book in a fine DW, This book was shortlisted for the Booker Prize , has no inscriptions, is not priceclipped and the DW is not faded, By all accounts this is a minor masterpiece, & only minor one because it has only 111 pages, Filmed with great success starring Colin Firth & Kenneth Branagh, Enlosed is a short note from J L Carr , which is signed, explaining his Small Books and the the costs, ( 10 for £2.70 ) also the postage costs and the fact that only one hand is needed to read these books in a cold bedroom. Approx 60 words. Bookseller Inventory # 000426

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Bibliographic Details

Title: A Month in the Country

Publisher: The Harvester Press, Brighton

Publication Date: 1980

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: Fine

Signed: Signed Letter Enclosed

Edition: First Edition

About this title

Synopsis:

Two World War I survivors--the one living in the village church carefully planning the restoration of its medieval paintings, the other, camping in a nearby field, in search of a lost grave--meet in the summer of 1920.

Review:

Any good reader has, well, had it with novels of healing. The culture of confession has given rise to novels that begin with an unspeakable act (graphically described) and end in redemption (this part is usually more vague). That's not how it works in J.L. Carr's quiet, brief, dreamy A Month in the Country. Writing in 1978, Carr's narrator, Tom Birkin, recalls the summer of 1920. A veteran of the Great War and a cuckold, Tom arrives in Oxgodby to restore a medieval mural in the church. His single season in this town in the north of England passes quickly: he sleeps in the belfry, makes a friend or two, falls secretly in love with the vicar's wife, and, chipping away at plaster and dirt, uncovers a lost masterpiece. These events seem to melt past Tom in the heat of the perfect, fleeting English summer: "The front gardens of cottages were crammed with marjoram and roses, marguerites, sweet William, at night heavy with the scent of stocks. The Vale was heavy with leaves, motionless in the early morning, black caves of shadow in the midday heat, blurring the sound of trains hammering north and south."

Carr devotes many fewer words to Tom's time in the war. The vicar's wife tries to ask him about it. "'What about hell on earth?' she said. I told her I'd seen it and lived there and that, mercifully, they usually left an exit open." His healing consists of not talking about his past--perhaps a revolutionary notion these days. A Month in the Country, with its paean to a lost, good place, oddly recalls Alain-Fournier's Le Grand Meaulnes. But where that novel was elliptical, Carr's work values clarity and simplicity above all. These are rare enough qualities, but to find them in a novel of romance and healing is a rarer pleasure still. --Claire Dederer

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