Monday, March 16, 2009
A Month in the Country by J. L. Carr
This book was the latest selection for the Cornflower BookGroup which held it's discussion online on this past Saturday. I haven't been a faithful member of this group but have enjoyed several of the selections when I've been able to fit them in at the proper time. I thoroughly enjoyed this one. The edition I read is a beautiful copy from the Folio Society. The cover art and the illustrations inside are absolutely gorgeous. This is a short little book (my edition came in at 121 pages), which on the surface seems to be about nothing much at all. However, this initial impression is quite deceptive. My favorite thing about the book hands-down is the setting. Carr does a wonderful job of evoking a sense of time and place. The book is set in the small village of Oxgodby, a rural area of Yorkshire just after the end of WWI. Tom Birkin has come to Oxgodby to rescue an old mural in the local church, much to the dismay of the Vicar. When he arrives, Tom is still trying to cope with everything he experienced during the war, as well as the fact that his wife ran off. Tom begins the slow process of healing as he slowly immerses himself in the slow paced village life in Oxgodby. In addition to the beautiful setting, the quirky characters and some tough subject matter, there is also humor in this tiny little book. Reading this book made me want to slow down, which is definitely a good thing for me. Go on over to Cornflower Books and you can read what everyone else thought about the book. Most everyone liked it; though, there were a couple people who felt it lacked enough action for their tastes. For me, that is precisely what made this book enjoyable. For me, characters, setting and language always win out over plot any day.