A Month in the Country

A Month in the Country

Book - 2000
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In J. L. Carr's deeply charged poetic novel, Tom Birkin, a veteran of the Great War and a broken marriage, arrives in the remote Yorkshire village of Oxgodby where he is to restore a recently discovered medieval mural in the local church. Living in the bell tower, surrounded by the resplendent countryside of high summer, and laboring each day to uncover an anonymous painter's depiction of the apocalypse, Birkin finds that he himself has been restored to a new, and hopeful, attachment to life. But summer ends, and with the work done, Birkin must leave. Now, long after, as he reflects on the passage of time and the power of art, he finds in his memories some consolation for all that has been lost.
Publisher: New York : New York Review Books, 2000
ISBN: 9780940322479
0940322471
Branch Call Number: FIC CARR
Characteristics: xxii, 135 pages ; 21 cm

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h
halbo2
May 02, 2018

As recommended by Michael Ondaatje- Also a movie, "but read the book":

u
Urbano
Jan 23, 2018

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.

s
sapo770
Jul 12, 2015

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.

readtoday Oct 13, 2010

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.

Readtoday

g
GailRoger
Dec 05, 2009

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

m
macierules
Dec 05, 2009

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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