[Read] ➸ A Month in the Country ➵ J.L. Carr – Burberry-outlets-online.co.uk

I am a seasonal reader, often craving books with sizzling settings in the summer months and snowy locales in the winter Last week I saw a review for J L Carr s Man Booker winning A Month in the Country and was intrigued enough by the title to read it for myself Using stunning prose combined with well developed characters, Carr s novella is perfect for a leisurely summer morning Tom Birkin had survived the Great War yet returned alienated from civilian life While in present times his feelings can be ascribed to survivor s guilt or post traumatic stress disorder, in 1920 Birkin did not have an outlet for his feelings His wife Vinny had left him for another man, leaving the door open for his return Disillusioned with life as a temporarily single man in London, Birkin accepts a job in a small northern hamlet of Oxgodby to unearth a painting and artist from the 1340s Even though this out of the way life is not what Birkin had envisioned for himself, he welcomes the opportunity to get out of his situation and avoid the present mess of his marriage While in Oxgodby, Birkin encounters a quaint cast of characters Fellow excavator Michael Moon has come north for the same reasons as Birkin Th This will likely enter the list of my all time favorite books I found myself saying glorious several times and then stopping to thank my parents for instilling in me their love of reading That brought me so belatedly to this treasure of a book.I know that the basic story is well known, the young re patriated soldier, spending a month in the English countryside at a small chapel, tasked to uncover a centuries old mural But the tale is so much than that because the prose is so much than that Carr captures moments in so many ways One small moment The sound of bees foraging from flower to flower seemed to deepen the stillness. p42 I ve experienced such moments but never seen it written so.And a longer evocation of the land he was coming to love There was so much time that marvelous summer Day after day, mist rose from the meadow as the sky lightened and hedges, barns and woods took shape until, at last, the long curving back of the hills lifted away from the Plain It was a sort of stage magic Now you don t see indeed, there is nothing to see Now look Day after day it was like that and each morning I leaned on the yard gate dragging at my first fag and I d like to think marveling at this splendid backcloth But it can t have been so I m not the marveling kind Or was I then But one thing is sure I had a f Tom Birkin is hired to reveal and restore a Medieval church mural, covered up over four hundred years earlier Expertly peeling back the layers of lime and grime, what he finds on the walls is unexpected in subject and quality What he learns about people, especially himself, is unexpected too the process of restoration is personally restorative Don t let the bland cover or blurb lead you to think this is just the charming story of the healing effect of a bucolic month in a quiet village It is that But it s much.JL Carr elegantly squeezes great breadth and depth in a mere 102 pages mystery, love, tragedy, humour, sociological analysis, lost opportunities, friendship, art, and general beauty It s a nuanced mix that deftly weaves a few dark undercurrents in a rural idyll How, in 1920, a penniless survivor of shell shock, whose wife has gone, finds peace and contentment in the ordinary.Yes, it describes a single month, with little backstory, even less afterstory, and not much happening, but Birkin emerges from Oxgodby changed for the better, and so did I, a little Picture Entrance to a country church of my childhood If I d stayed there, would I always have been happy No, I suppose not People move away, grow older, die, and the bright belief that there will be another marvelous thing around each corner fades It is now or never we must snatch at happiness as it flies Do we recognize happiness when we live it Or is it a condition we only perceive in retrospection remembering the past through the rose tinted glasses of memory Wales, 1978 Thomas Birkin, a survivor of the Great War, travels back in time to the 1920s and reconstructs a month spent in the rural village of Oxgodby, North Yorkshire Employed to recover a concealed medieval painting on the wall of the local church, Thomas believes that a change of scenery will soothe the scars the bloodbath of war and a shattered marriage have imprinted on him Regardless of his skeptical attitude towards religion, the placid rhythm of summer days ripened by the sun and the quaint temperament of some of the townspeople will guide him inadvertently, not only to uncover th That Night, For The First Time During Many Months, I Slept Like The Dead And, Next Morning, Awoke Very Early One Summer, Just After The Great War, Tom Birkin, A Demobbed Soldier, Arrives In The Village Of Oxgodby He Has Been Invited To Uncover And Restore A Medieval Wall Painting In The Local Church At The Same Time, Charles Moon A Fellow Damaged Survivor Of The War Has Been Asked To Locate The Grave Of A Village Ancestor As These Two Outsiders Go About Their Work Of Recovery, They Form A Bond, But They Also Stir Up Long Dormant Passions Within The Village What Berkin Discovers Here Will Stay With Him For The Rest Of His Life Carr Has The Magic Touch To Re Enter The Imagined Past Penelope Fitzgerald When we pick up a book by an author we haven t read before, we have only the vaguest notion of what themes it will contain We don t know how those themes will be treated, what attention to detail we will find or if the language will delight us or otherwise Before we turn over that first page, it is all as blank as a whitewashed wall We may bring expectations to the blank piece of wall, expectations based on the period the book is set in or from the opinions of readers we trust, but any clarity on the book s contents will remain largely hidden Sometimes our expectations are rewarded right at the beginning On the first page of this book, I found myself tumbling onto the platform of Oxgodby station alongside the narrator, and the way in which those first words were assembled announced clearly that this was going to be an especially rewarding read I didn t quite know how the author would manage this feat but I was confident it would turn out to be so And although it was a slow reveal, within the first few pages I saw many signs of promise, a little brush stroke here so that a particular character came into better focus, a little sketch there so that I gained a clearer idea of the background, a little foreshadowing so that I could make a stab at guessing the main Can you remember a time in your life when you were truly happy If I search my memories, I find a sixteen year old girl sitting in a canoe, with a boy, fishing at two o clock in the morning by the eerie light of the midnight sun, on a glassy lake near Whitehorse, Yukon Everything is tingly and pulsing with youth I look a little and see myself choking back tears on a hospital bed with my beloved grandfather, hearing him say I m still your grandpa, Robin , knowing I would never see him again, but feeling gratitude for the absolute purity of the moment I look again, and watch myself, a brand new mother, rocking my baby during one of our midnight meetings, in the stillness, the newborn puzzle piece nested against my breast Unconditional love was being hatched in my heart.Those moments are the jewels of life.J.L Carr s novella explores such perfect times, through the character of Tom Birkin Set in the summer of 1920, but related in 1978, an older Birkin is remembering the month during which he is hired to uncover a medieval mural in a church in northern England Damaged by time served in WWI and a bad marriage, Birkin arrives at Oxgodby fairly shattered and alone This time serves as a salve on his heart, a reminder of the beauty of art, but also of nature, You re happy, Mr Birkin You re not on edge any Is it because the work is going well Of course, she was right Anyway, partly right Standing up there on the platform before a great work of art, feeling kinship with its creator, cosily knowing that I was sort of impresario conjuring and teasing back his work after four hundred years of darkness But that wasn t all of it There was this weather, this landscape, thick woods, roadsides deep in grass and wild flowers And to the south and north of the Vale, low hills, frontiers of a mysterious What does it take to be happy First of all it takes tranquility And so often the happiest days of our life are those when nothing crucial happened.So a month in the country was a real treat to the protagonist and A Month in the Country is a real treat to a reader Well, we all see things with different eyes, and it gets you nowhere hoping that even one in a thousand will see things your way.The novel is also a deepest contemplation on the nature of art and history and the harmony of life We can ask and ask but we can t This is the sort of efficient novella that demands a short, incisive review full of judiciously chosen adjectives, and presumably that s what it will get if MJ ever gets around to reading it In my case, however, it s unfortunately one of those texts that is going to send me off on a long personal anecdote, for which I offer advance apologies.When I was twenty one I ended up, for a variety of reasons, living in Quito, Ecuador The city in those days was a steamy melting pot of different nationalities, full of Colombian exiles that had fled the violence north of the border, and teeming with renegade expats from a scattering of unusual countries My closest acquaintances included an American Vietnam vet, a British army deserter, a Colombian street artist, a badly disguised CIA agent, a drug dealer for the Medell n cartel and an Italian architect who kept a Picasso hidden under his bed It was a weird time But the first person I met there was a girl from Sweden called Lina We lived in the same building, and on my first night in the city she took me out for a Mexican and we got hammered on strawberry daiquiris, and the evening slowly evolved into a strange date which she orchestrated with Scandinavian directness You buy me a drink now You take me dancing now I was charmed.I had come to South America to get over someone after an awful breakup, and so I wasn t looki A Month in the Country


About the Author: J.L. Carr

Carr was born in Thirsk Junction, Carlton Miniott, Yorkshire, into a Wesleyan Methodist family His father Joseph, the eleventh son of a farmer, went to work for the railways, eventually becoming a station master for the North Eastern Railway Carr was given the same Christian name as his father and the middle name Lloyd, after David Lloyd George, the Liberal Chancellor of the Exchequer He adopte


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