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The Copper Beech [Paperback]

Maeve Binchy
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)

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Book Description

January 2004
On 10 CD's. Eight children once carved their names on the trunk of the great copper beech which shaded the schoolhouse in Shancarrig. Now those children are grown. For each one, Shancarrig holds special memories - some too private ever to be told. From Ryan's Hotel to Barna Woods where the gypsies came each year, from Nellie Dunn's sweet shop to Father Gunn's church, the tenor of life in this small Irish town is placid, uneventful - some would say dull...But peel away the layers and all sorts of unexpected things come to light.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Binchy ( Circle of Friends ; The Lilac Bus ) is a consummate storyteller with a unique ability to draw readers into her tales of Irish life. Here again she mines sources rich in plot and character to produce a captivating narrative. The eponymous copper beech is a huge tree that shades the tiny schoolhouse in the village of Shancarrig. For generations, graduating pupils have carved their initials on the massive trunk, and the book examines what has become of some of them. Though each of the 10 chapters offers the perspective of a single character, Binchy adroitly indicates the ways in which their lives intersect. Thus, the allegedly stolen jewels that are discovered and stolen again in one early chapter become significant in later chapters. Long after two adulterous characters sneak into a Dublin hotel, it emerges that they were spotted by a small soul from Shancarrig, who passes on the information--with unforeseen consequences. A priest's dalliance with the sweet young schoolteacher is shown to have been been suspected by others in the village. The result is a charming and compelling series of interlocking stories about ordinary people who are given dimension through Binchy's empathetic insight. While this book is more fragmentary in structure than some of her previous novels, it should leave Binchy's fans wholly satisfied. BOMC main selection.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.


"The Copper Beech finds author Maeve Binchy at her Irish storytelling best!"—The Plain Dealer, Cleveland

"The Copper Beech is as soothing as a cup of tea."—People

"Binchy makes you laugh, cry, and care. Her warmth and sympathy render the daily struggles of ordinary people heroic and turn storytelling into art."—San Francisco Chronicle.

From the Paperback edition. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful author! Nov. 29 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Maeve Binchy can write a story with the best of them. Her characters come to life and the reader really cares about them, since she writes about their hope and dreams, as well as their activities. In The Copper Beech, Binchy details the lives of different people in a small Irish town. Most of the characters are local children who have carved their names in the copper beech tree outside of their school. She describes the class distinctions in the town, which sometimes separate those who have been schoolmates, after they leave their school days. The final chapter ties the characters together and lets the reader in on what has happened to the people that have been described throughout the book. This is a wonderful read!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Sweet Book Nov. 3 2001
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I do rather think that the copper beech tree would have succumbed long ago to all those inroads on its bark. The book is that kind of interweaving story that I like so much. And Binchy succeeds in it very well. She makes a small village and its inhabitants come alive. Sex is there, but it's not detailed or obtrusive. And she moves among and between, about and around, her characters well. There is tension built within each chapter - which is about one person - and across the chapters. Her characters are fairly sharp. And everybody does not come to a happy ending. Although I find the marriage of Gloria Darcey a little hard to believe. For all of that, it is a light, enjoyable novel. There was, for all its problems, a simpler life in that Irish village. I sometimes wish for it.
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Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I love Maeve binchie's books.. They are a very good read. I have almost all or her books. I like the way she writes about life in Ireland and the pepoles. Some stories of "The Cooper Beech" asre better than others, but in the whole
it is an very good book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Good storytelling Sept. 7 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
As always Ms. Binchy tells a very good story. Her ability to seamlessly tell stories and take you on a journey as a result is a gift the literary world will miss.
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By Alison S. Coad TOP 50 REVIEWER
Maeve Binchy's "The Copper Beech" is set in the small village of Shancarrig, where the small schoolhouse is dominated by a huge old copper beech tree, which over the years has seen generations of children come in and grow up. Junior Assistant Mistress Maddy Ross takes care of the very youngest students, but her true interests lie in the parish rather than the school; young Maura is from the wrong side of the tracks but full of kindness; Leo is the richest girl in town but holds the darkest secret of all; Eddie loves plants and flowers, things a boy shouldn't care about in this insular world; and Nessa is a determined young girl who wants to better herself. How all these children, and others, live and grow up and find their places in life is the heart of the story, and there are many suprises along the way.... As always, I enjoyed Binchy's gentle tales, really a collection of individual stories about each of her characters that are woven together to create a whole portrait of the world of a small Irish village in the 1950s and on. I don't think this is her best work, but it's very much a part of her general oevre, and as such it's a wonderful, quiet read. Recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, but not my favorite Binchy July 9 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Maeve Binchy is one of my favorite authors. To me, her writing is like a mini-vacation from home, and Ireland is definitely a place I'd like to visit. In addition to seeing the sights of her towns and villages, we meet the people, too. And in Binchy's stories, there is all sorts of action: adventure, love, deception, children, marriage, murder and more.
In The Copper Beech, Binchy has given us tastes of the lives of the villagers in Shancarrig, Ireland. Four schoolchildren and the people around them tell their stories, each with their own chapter. There were some chapters I loved, some I drudged through and for that, I would say this isn't my favorite Binchy. But it's still a delight to read and savor!
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2.0 out of 5 stars Not Bad, But Not Her Most Uplifting Work, Either Dec 31 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The other Binchy works I have read, Tara Road, The Glass Lake, Circle of Friends, even the Return Journey (a book of short stories) seem more balanced than this. Those seemed to address both the ups and downs of life. The Copper Beech seems more focused on the despairs. It is not poorly written, just a bit of a downer. Definitely not something to read if you are pregnant, as I am at the moment.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Pedestrian Nov. 27 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I had never read Binchy and was not expecting much, since she regularly appears on bestseller lists. The entire plot can be summarized by the last chapter in which all of the characters lives are resolved into happy, rewarding ones with a wave of Binchy's word processor. Conflicts are resolved offstage, probably because she cannot write about anything more intense than a walk in the woods. Married couples are rewarded with precisely 3 children by the book's end and self-sacrificing types, like Maura, who is a thief and blackmailer, are given the town's love and sympathy. The world Binchy is writing about never existed; she completely ignores the challenges of historical setting and character development for the pablum of pop fiction.
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