From Publishers Weekly
In the first eight interrelated stories of the dozen that comprise her new collection, Binchy ( Circle of Friends ) introduces eight people who travel on a lilac-colored bus from Dublin every Friday night to spend the weekend in their hometown, Rathdoon. Each of the seven passengers and the bus driver is the protagonist of an individual story; taken together, the tales have the cohesion of a novelette. Though these people have known one another for years, they are totally unaware of the compulsions, anxieties, heartaches and dreams of their fellow travelers. As is gradually revealed, everyone on the bus has a secret; thus the stories have the pull of taffy: having finished one, the reader is hooked on discovering the essence of yet another protagonist's existence. Each story delivers a kick of surprise--and often more than one--as Binchy peels back the layers of her characters' lives with empathy, compassion and not a little humor. In the process, the tales coalesce to portray the social order of Rathdoon. The last four stories are set in Dublin, with a new, equally engrossing cast. Although the pieces differ widely in social setting and circumstance, each features a woman who learns the strength of her mettle through adversity. This gallery of memorable characters again confirms Binchy as a beguiling raconteur. BOMC featured selection.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Kirkus Reviews
From Binchy, that well-beloved chronicler of things Irish (as in Circle of Friends and Firefly Summer), eight thematically connected stories, plus four thrown in presumably for good measure. The whole lot testifies to this writer's continued fascination with ordinary people and their tics of character, and how their lives never straighten out but grow more bittersweetly convoluted by the heartbeat. A lilac-colored bus is what draws eight Dubliners together for the four-hour trip to and from the village of Rathdoon on the weekends. And a varied collection of souls they are, including: Nancy Morris, the world's stingiest woman, who by the end of her sorry story does not change her ways a bit; a bank porter named Mikey, who despite his habit for telling off-color jokes badly, and for his generally hang-doggish self-presentation, finishes first when he steps into his errant elder brother's shoes (and marriage); Celia, a big, strapping girl who comes up with an ingenious way of convincing her perpetually potted mam that it's time to take herself off to a dry-out clinic; and Rupert, an earnest young fellow who tiptoes out of the closet when he at last determines to bring his male lover home to meet his stodgy, aging parents. Meanwhile, the Dublin Four stories that close the collection, about a very nervous country girl come to the city, a betrayed wife in pursuit of vengeance, and others, suffer from their lack of connecting fiber, and on occasion simply go on for too long. A big plate of mixed appetizers for Binchy fans, some of them nicely concentrated character studies, others predictable and flat. -- Copyright ©1991, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.