Set in Northern England in 1920, this novella tells the story of a man who was damaged by WW I and who gets a job to uncover a medieval painting in the local church. He gradually heals as he becomes part of the community. A quiet but lovely book. Booker Short List.
As recommended by Michael Ondaatje- Also a movie, "but read the book":
A sweetly touching novella about a destitute man who returns from WWI with PTSD to carry out restoration work on a medieval church and slowly finds that the work he does and friends he makes are doing restoration work on him. Recommended, especially for Anglophile readers.
JL Carr writes a most beautiful novel. He transport the reader back to the 1920's in a small town in the North of England, and he then proceeds to tell us about life, as simple or as complicated as you wish it to be. The interactions between human beings covering a wide range of them, love, friendship, every day interactions and the like.
He weaves those interactions in the context of a beautiful summer in all its glory, and like the tide receding and coming in, he inserts the indescribable horrors of the first world war. A timeless book that will touch anyone. Do not miss this rare treat.
no issue with the skirting of the life/death events taking place in any community, small or large.
Tom Birkin is a traveller, someone passing through Oxgodby. The choices that become available to him, are not the choices he really wants to make. Seen through the lens of time bittersweet with the warmth of what might have been, his time in Oxgodby is a tender moment.
Thought it a worthwhile read overall.
As I read it, I couldn't help but wonder what sort of book it would have been if a woman had written it. I'm not suggesting it would have been a better book; there is a great deal of charm and skill in the narrative, and it wasn't shortlisted for the 1980 Booker for nothing. However, I don't think a woman could have resisted delving into the deeper stories of Alice, her husband, the dying girl, or the Colonel. I think the brushing softly and drawing back is a guy thing.
Certainly J.L. Carr himself was an enigma. I'd love to read a biography of him, but who would get enough material on this private, elusive, and fascinating man? If you have the edition with Michael Holroyd's introduction and haven't read it, oh, please do. The description of Carr's funeral alone is worth it
I don't remember who recommended this book to me, but to whoever that was, thanks very much! A World War I veteran travels to Oxgodby in the north of England to escape from the horrors of war and the pain of his wife's desertion. Here he takes on the job of restoring a painting in a church during the summer months. This is a sweet, gentle read as you literally feel the healing process taking place through the characters in the community and the peace of the countryside. Made me feel so nostalgic...Booker shortlisted in 1980.
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