Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

You are cordially invited to attend Maeve Binchy's Garden Party of audio delights

Maeve Binchy is best known for her charming novels of everyday folk in Ireland such as Circle of Friends,Tara Road and Glass Lake,yet her short story collections are just as touching and well done.

While her latest novel,Heart and Soul,will be out and about next week,you can listen to a new set of short stories today. The Garden Party And Other Stories is available in an exclusive audio edition that I got the chance to hear for myself.

Each story is narrated by a different actress who recorded them for BBC Radio. The title tale is told by Niamh Cusack,who chronicles a budding friendship between two new neighbors,one of whom offers a rather unique solution to the other for getting over a divorce.

"The Sensible Celebration" is brought vividly to life by Doreen Hepburn as she relates the simpering superiority of Lorna,a married woman eager to laud over her friends how supposedly happy her marriage is(compared to theirs)via an anniversary party.

The collection is rounded out with Stella McCusker's reading of "Dolly's Mother",which is about a moody teenager's new take on her seemingly perfect mom and Dervla Kirwin gives a winsome tone to "The Special Sale" that takes place at a restaurant familiar to longtime Binchy readers where the arrangement of a after Christmas luncheon provides plenty of emotional gift giving opportunities:

The ladies chosen for each story were very well selected;Doreen Hepburn's rendition is one of my favorites here. She really breathes life into this haughty woman who has no clue that her so-called perfection is nothing more than a thin veneer of glossy denial about how artificial her home life has become.

Dervla Kirwin gives a homey glow to "The Special Sale" that makes you feel as if you are reading one of Binchy's books right over her shoulder. All in all,this is a lovely set of stories that make for a relaxing listen.

I played this CD as I went down to the NYC Comic Con this weekend(taking several long bus rides each way)and it was soothing sweet to hear these stories as I traveled from one hectic location to another.

It was also great to re-enter Maeve Binchy's literary world this way. I haven't read anything by her in a long while but now I'm longing to catch up with her.

If you need more of an incentive to check out The Garden Party,the audio is only one CD and very reasonably priced,especially these days.

A much better reason to take a listen to it is to embrace the flow of Binchy's storyteller skills as she introduces you to the sorrows and the follies of her characters who could be your friends and neighbors,that's how down to earth and real they are. Take a mental walk around this garden party and you'll truly feel as if you're amongst a circle of friends:

1 comment:

Ladytink_534 said...

I know I must have read a Binchy before but I can't recall doing so. This sounds great and I love the audio clip too.