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The Copper Beech [Paperback]

Maeve Binchy
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)

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Book Description

January 2004
While unmarried Maddy dreams of the man she loved and lost, Eddie yearns for the father who abandoned him, in a novel that depicts the dreams and desires of the residents of Shancarrig. (General Fiction).
--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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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.

Review

"The Copper Beech is as soothing as a cup of tea."--People. --This text refers to the Hardcover 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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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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4.0 out of 5 stars Maeve Binchy makes me want to travel to Ireland Sept. 1 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I discovered Maeve Binchy some years ago :-). Saw Tara Road on the shelves in my favorite book store here in Norway and it called out to me. Bought it, took it home and became an addicted Maeve Binchy fan. Since then I have read most of her books. Not many have been available here in my town in Norway, but I have bought some online and also found a couple at my local library. It was a big surprise though when I some time ago found a used copy of The Copper Bech at a local secondhand book store.
I finished The Copper Beech today, after getting deeply involved in the characters in the book.
The Copper Beech is set in Ireland like most of Binchy's books. Outside a small countryside school stands a copper beech, and once eight children carved their names in this tree. The children come from different backgrouds, what units them is the Shancarrig school where they all have spent an important part of their past. The book tells different stories, all about these kids and their life. It is a book about love and death, about daily life and about extraordinary events. Maeve Binchy is a master to tell a story the way you know it could have happend, her characters could me my neighbours, or yours for that. And at the same time she shows that there are extraordinary stories to be covered everywhere, in everybody's lives.
Though this is not my favorite Maeve Bincy, so far Evening Class holds that possition, I love the book. It has it's place on the shelves in my growing collection of Maeve Binchy books, and passing the shelves glimpsing the books I know I have hours of cozy hours ahead of me if or rather when I want to read them over again. I'm glad I still have some unread Maeve Bincy books to look forward to, Scarlet Feather on top of that list.
Happy reading
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4.0 out of 5 stars Warm and cozy, just add a cup of tea. July 24 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
That is what a Binchy novel is like to me. Hers are books I enjoy for the places she idyllically paints and the characters she puts forth to become a part of her homespun landscapes. Set in Ireland, the copper beech is a formidable an aging tree in front of the Shancarrig schoolhouse. Carved into it's bark are the hopes and dreams, stories and well wishes of many a heart, heavy as well as happy, that has passed beneath it's massive branches.
The book is written in a way so as to introduce each character and his personal view of Shancarrig and the people in it. This technique allows the lives of the characters to mesh unequivocally making this story so enjoyable. You will meet them all. The scoundrels as well as the lovelorn, those searching for passion, and those who have taken a bite from the apple of life only to be dealt a blow that redirects them to an unprecedented ending.
I enjoyed the style of this book as much as the characters and the storylines. Once you read a Binchy novel you can count on craving another, and there is no doubt that each one is it's own singular pleasure. Kelsana 7/24/01
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5.0 out of 5 stars A beautfiul novel of love, friendship and community April 12 1999
Format:Mass Market Paperback
My exposure to Maeve Binchy has been recent. Last year with the publication of "Evening Class" and this year with "Tara Road" - Ms. Binchy writes with authority and wisdom leaving me to ponder: "Where have I been all these years?" Her novels - revolving around life in Ireland - detail the universal emotion of life, love and loss no matter what country we may dwell in or what language we may speak. Therefore, I have decided to take a step backwards and read Ms. Binchy's previous works and, in this case, her 1992 novel, "The Copper Beech." This is a novel to be read and re-read for its sheer beauty. "The Copper Beech" tells the story of a town called Shancarrig - meaning old rock for the massive structure which centers the town. In particular, the novel focuses on Shancarrig school and its inhabitants. The beauty of this novel is derived by the symbolic construction in which the story unfolds. Each section is devoted to either one of the schoolchildren, teachers or members of the community. It is as if each character represents a branch of the copper beech and as each life unfolds and comes together with each other, they form the tree. And just as a tree needs tending to grow - sun, water and soil - so does the town of Shancarrig. Each member of this community brings together the love, nuturing and devotion which makes their community grow and prosper. What a marvelous piece of imagery Maeve Binchy has created. This novel is filled with eloquent prose and dialogue with an ending that will tug at your heart. We are fortunate to have Ms. Binchy and I will be waiting with breathless energy to read not only all of her previous works but of the many more which are sure to follow.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Always a good read by Maeve Binchy
Published 2 months ago by Helen
4.0 out of 5 stars Excuse my spelling mistakes, I am a french speeking quebecker.
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. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Dominique Lanoie
5.0 out of 5 stars Good storytelling
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.
Published 13 months ago by E. Debrito
4.0 out of 5 stars Life in a Small Irish Village in the 1950s and Beyond
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... Read more
Published 18 months ago by Alison S. Coad
2.0 out of 5 stars Not Bad, But Not Her Most Uplifting Work, Either
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. Read more
Published on Dec 31 2001 by Cookie Monster's Wife
1.0 out of 5 stars Pedestrian
I had never read Binchy and was not expecting much, since she regularly appears on bestseller lists. Read more
Published on Nov. 27 2001 by Sue Scott
5.0 out of 5 stars Oh, to be Irish!
The Copper Beech isn't a book for those looking for alot of fast paced action. Instead it's the kind of book that is slow paced and one you don't want to have end. Read more
Published on Nov. 11 2001 by Marcie
3.0 out of 5 stars Not one of her better books
I have read 4 of Meave Bincy's books now and this one was a disappointment. Didn't seem to hold my interest as well as "CIrcle of Friends" or "Firefly Summer".
Published on June 12 2001 by T. Kemp
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