“A new Maeve Binchy!” one of us would shriek brandishing an Easons bag and rush to her room/plonk herself in front of the fire and remain prone until every single page was finished. The reading would often be accompanied by tears/laughter/snorts of derision and much tea drinking. And as soon as the first person was finished it would be seized upon by another sister or Beaut.ie Mammy.
Ah Maeve Binchy, we’re so sorry that you’re gone – we loved you so much. An absolutely incredible 40 million books sold worldwide, 16 novels, short story collections and those earwigging columns in the Irish Times, made you a fixture in Irish life.
All of your books were permanent features in the Beaut.ie household. We grew up greedily gobbling the tale of Aisling and Elizabeth in Light A Penny Candle and despaired over Aisling’s alco husband and the feckless Lahdan Johnny.
The Lilac bus was actually a work of genius and I think I read that one about a hundred times. I loved Tara Road and the one about the Ryans who owned the pub. You know the one – the Ma was disabled in a development accident during the building of a posh hotel and golf course by a Yank (the title temporarily escapes me); and the tons of others that we practically inhaled.
Every bit of Irish life was catalogued, discussed and dissected. But it was the great good humour, kindness and quiet wisdom in the books that made them stand out and shine.
Maeve Binchy you made Irish life richer. We loved you for it and we’ll miss you very much.