Maeve Binchy: “All Round Good Egg”
July 31, 2012
News broke this morning that beloved Irish author Maeve Binchy had passed away, yesterday, at the age of 72. A Binchy-Book will always be equated in my mind with a cosy and decadent descent into blissful and effortless reading. Her novels were often set in busy little Irish villages populated with families, friends, neighbours and shopkeepers, going about their entangled every-days with challenges and successes, and yes, a little lurve here and there too. From Light A Penny Candle to the most recent, Minding Frankie, each was a delightful voyage, as a good story should be.
Maeve Binchy embraced her Irish homeland and shared the good-natured ways of its people with her readers. Donal O’Donoghue wrote the following in the RTE of Ireland describing a visit with Maeve:
“In the picturesque Dublin village of Dalkey, there’s a pretty cottage that looks deceptively bijou. That is until you step into its book-lined interior. Like C S Lewis’ wardrobe, this is a way into another world. Maeve Binchy, best-selling author and all-round good egg, lives here. Upstairs is her work room and you get there by a glass elevator. With her arthritis worsening and a dicky heart, Maeve is not as mobile as she once was. “But I hate people talking about their ailments and illnesses”, she says. My father had a great statement. He used to say that the words ‘how are you?’ is a greeting, not a question about your health.” So at 70 years of age, MB remains resolutely young at heart, a tonic and a trouper. “I have a great friend who is a retired judge now and whenever we meet, we say to each other: ‘what will we do when we grow up?'””
Maeve Binchy wrote some fifteen novels as well as short stories and plays. I’ve enjoyed all I’ve read. A special one on my shelf is her non-fiction guide for writers called: The Maeve Binchy Writers’ Club. Her warmth and wit is just as evident when she’s offering guidance as when she is storytelling. Tried and true advice but in Maeve’s version of write-what-you-know she is quoted as saying, “You see, I’ve never been at an orgy and I wouldn’t know where legs should be and arms should be.”
While it is indeed sad to think Maeve won’t be writing any new stories to entertain and comfort us, the good news is she leaves us with one more to savour, A Week in Winter, to be published in October 2012. I can already anticipate a quiet week-end this winter, with a last precious Binchy-Book to warm my heart.
Some final words from Maeve Binchy – words that resonate:
The happiest moments of my life are connected with family and friends. There is a great comfort about being with people who knew you way back when. There is a mental shorthand, an easy-going feeling that life doesn’t have to be explained or defined; we are all in more or less the same boat. To have a community around you in a changing and unstable world is invaluable and nothing can beat the feeling that there will always be people out for our good.