More than the sum of its parts May 27, 2008
This is the first Binchy book that I've read since picking up "Circle of Friends" when I was in high school. I couldn't really remember much about the author besides that I enjoyed the book. Well, the enjoyment hasn't changed. What has changed is that I've read a lot of authors in the intervening years that don't match up to Binchy's talent. Somehow, her story of two Dublin caterers is more than the sum of its parts. The writing is simple and straightforward, but it ultimately laces together a story that is anything but either of those two words. This book is like comfort food; you know what's in it, but the feeling it gives you goes above and beyond the ordinary power of those ingredients by themselves.
Binchy isn't interested in painting any of her characters in two dimensions. Instead, they run the gamut of type, all of them believably inhabiting her fictional world, reacting naturally to the stimuli with which they are presented according to the personalities that Binchy has created with such care. And the best thing is, you recognize these outsize personalities. The author has a remarkable talent for capturing the traits and quirks of people and putting them on the page intact.
I will definitely be picking up more work by Maeve Binchy in the future.