Sunday, January 27, 2013

The Lilac Bus

The Lilac Bus
Maeve Binchy
(see Dublin 4 for more information)

Tom takes seven people to Rathdoon and back to Dublin every weekend on the vehicle of the title.  Each chapter has a different perspective, so we see how the driver and passengers view each other, as well as the townspeople that they all know, like Celia's alcoholic mother.  The stories aren't all neatly tied up, but then this novella only covers one weekend (with flashbacks).  Themes and issues from before, not just alcoholism, but adultery, homosexuality (more here than in Dublin 4 or London Transports), and of course family, are addressed.  There's not as much of a sense of a little Irish town as in Light a Penny Candle, because of the split in setting (including on the road) as well as the length being less than that of the 1982 novel.  I didn't like Nancy, even after she had her "clueless person's realisation" ala Transports (maybe because I can see that same penny-pinching in myself at times, though not to that extreme), but the rest of the characters are interesting, flaws and all.

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