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A Month in the Country (1980)

por J. L. Carr

Outros autores: Ver a secção outros autores.

MembrosCríticasPopularidadeAvaliação médiaDiscussões / Menções
2,2741186,759 (4.22)2 / 451
In J. L. Carr's deeply charged poetic novel, Tom Birkin, a veteran of the Great War and a broken marriage, arrives in the remote Yorkshire village of Oxgodby where he is to restore a recently discovered medieval mural in the local church. Living in the bell tower, surrounded by the resplendent countryside of high summer, and laboring each day to uncover an anonymous painter's depiction of the apocalypse, Birkin finds that he himself has been restored to a new, and hopeful, attachment to life. But summer ends, and with the work done, Birkin must leave. Now, long after, as he reflects on the passage of time and the power of art, he finds in his memories some consolation for all that has been lost.Copyright © Libri GmbH. All rights reserved.… (mais)
  1. 40
    Under the Greenwood Tree por Thomas Hardy (Jannes)
    Jannes: Under the Greenwood Tree was according to the Carr's own foreword one of the main inspirations for A Month in the Country
  2. 10
    The Summer Book por Tove Jansson (Jannes)
  3. 10
    Maurice: A Novel por E. M. Forster (1502Isabella)
  4. 10
    The Return of the Soldier por Rebecca West (Widsith)
    Widsith: Two excellent, but very different, novels about damaged English soldiers returning home from the First World War with shell-shock.
  5. 10
    The Last Englishman: The Life of J. L. Carr por Byron Rogers (KayCliff)
  6. 10
    The Country of the Pointed Firs por Sarah Orne Jewett (amanda4242)
  7. 10
    The Bookshop por Penelope Fitzgerald (Petroglyph)
    Petroglyph: Both of these books are gentle, mostly quiet novels about an outsider entering a small English town to see through an arts-related project. Their setting surpasses a pedestrian "look at these weird locals". Lots going on in the background if you look for it.… (mais)
  8. 11
    What's Bred in the Bone por Robertson Davies (KayCliff)
  9. 00
    Judgement Day por Penelope Lively (KayCliff)
  10. 00
    How to Be Both por Ali Smith (shaunie)
    shaunie: Both books focus on the restoration of a wall painting and the descriptions are pretty similar. Both lovely books!
  11. 01
    The Running Foxes por Joyce Stranger (inge87)
  12. 01
    The Spectator Bird por Wallace Stegner (aprille)
  13. 02
    Le Grand Meaulnes por Alain-Fournier (chrisharpe)
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» Ver também 451 menções

Inglês (110)  Italiano (2)  Francês (2)  Holandês (1)  Alemão (1)  Todas as línguas (116)
Mostrando 1-5 de 116 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
Really beautiful novella. The main part of it is a nostalgic English pastoral exploration, a romantic vision of the countryside and rural living that probably never existed and yet is beautiful to read about anyway. And yet it's saved from being pure saccharine by the constant reminders that even from the perspective of the narrator, looking back on what he sees as the best days of his life, the exclusion and expulsion from that life, the ways people are separated from the normal flow of society and belonging, is always close at hand. He takes lodgings in the bell tower and his work is done on a scaffold that only another outsider is allowed on. The other outsider is working to find a grave of the local landed family's ancestor who was denied a true Christian burial. The vicar's family is frozen out by the community. The day trip of the Methodist chapel which blocks the Anglicans from going with. The impossible gap in understanding between the present day and the painter of the church mural. The gaps between the war, 1920, the present day of the 1970s. The divides keep stacking up, self inflicted or forced by failure to fit in with community standards Moon the archaeologist is gay, and the narrator being told this puts distance between the two. The 14th century ancestor had converted to Islam. The girl with consumption dies with no fanfare. The narrator can't stay in the village because he's actually married but can't tell them

So when he looks back you see, not that the pastoral ideal was false, exactly, and not even that there's "dark secrets" or something like that - it's that it's something that you can only experience as an ideal when you're there for a month. All the cracks can be glossed over but everything would fall apart if you stayed there too long. And when you look back maybe you can't think of why you didn't stay but that's what distance does - you can't experience the full thing in your memories or through a writing or art. But there's always something you carry with you. ( )
  tombomp | Oct 31, 2023 |
This became one of my most remembered books, so sensitively told. ( )
  mykl-s | Aug 12, 2023 |
A Summer Idyll
Review of the NYRB Classics paperback edition (2000) with an Introduction by Michael Holroyd of the Harvester Press hardcover original (1980).

But one thing is sure - I had a feeling of immense content and if I thought at all, it was that I'd like this to go on and on, no-one going, no-one coming, autumn and winter always loitering around the corner, summer's ripeness lasting for ever, nothing disturbing the even tenor of my way (as I think someone may have said before me).


This is one of those rare books that evokes a perfect time and place and is especially wonderful in the way it provokes memories of idyllic summers in one's own past, even if they weren't in the same situation as the protagonist here.

Tom Birkin is a survivor of the First World War. He is recovering from the trauma of battles such as Passchendaele and has developed various nervous ticks as a result. His wife has left him and he is at loose ends. He takes on a summer job of restoring a medieval wall painting in a Yorkshire country church. Over the course of the summer (it is much more than a month, but a title of "Three Months in the Country" doesn't have the correct ring to it) he reawakens to life, makes friends and falls in love, while pondering the past lives of the people in the painting he uncovers.

Summertime! And summertime in my early twenties! And in love! No, better than that - secretly in love, coddling it up in myself. It's an odd feeling, coming rarely more than once in most of our lifetimes. In books, as often as not, they represent it as a sort of anguish but it wasn't so for me. Later perhaps, but not then.


See DVD cover at https://m.media-amazon.com/images/M/MV5BNGY0ZjE5NTAtNmYzZC00ZGMxLTg5OWEtMGM0MDEz...
The cover of the DVD/Blu-ray reissue of the film adaptation. Image sourced from IMDb.

Somehow I previously overlooked this book, but having discovered it now I was quick to add it to my all-time favourites.

See original book cover at https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/b/b0/A_Month_in_the_Country_96dpi.jpg
The dust cover of the original UK hardcover published by Harvester Press in 1980. Image sourced from Wikipedia.

Trivia and Links
A film adaptation of A Month in the Country was made as the same-titled film (1987) directed by Pat O’Connor and starring Colin Firth, Kenneth Branagh and Natasha Richardson. You can watch a trailer for the film here and, roughly 30 years later, Colin Firth is interviewed about the making of the film here. ( )
  alanteder | Jul 27, 2023 |
DNF
  37143Birnbaum | May 21, 2023 |
A delightful short novel about the joys of professional work and the sorrows of unrequited love - and war. ( )
  soylentgreen23 | Mar 18, 2023 |
Mostrando 1-5 de 116 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
Reissued as part of the Penguin Decades series, JL Carr's slender, Booker-shortlisted and semi-autobiographical novel was published in 1980 but looks back to an earlier time. The narrator, Tom Birkin, reflects on a summer spent in the small Yorkshire village of Oxgodby in 1920. Near destitute and still visibly shaken by his experiences during the first world war and through the painful break-up of his marriage, he has been assigned the job of restoring a medieval mural hidden beneath whitewash on the wall of the village church.

As he painstakingly removes several centuries' worth of paint and grime he becomes gradually less closed off and begins to make friends within the community, in particular with Moon, another war veteran, who is camped in the churchyard, ostensibly looking for a lost grave. As Birkin uncovers patches of gilt and cinnabar up on his scaffold, Moon digs his pits outside the church walls; both of them are striving for some sort of, if not restoration, then freedom from their past, and for Birkin, at least, his stay at Oxgodby is a time of healing.

Slim as it is, this is a tender and elegant novel that seemingly effortlessly weaves several strands together. Carr has a knack for bringing certain scenes into sudden, sharp focus, rather as waves lift forgotten things to the surface. He writes with particular precision and admiration about the joys of skilled men going about their business. He also subtly evokes lost rural customs and ways of living that, even at the time, had begun to fade from view: cart rides and seed cake and honey-thick accents that had not yet been filed down by mass communication.

The sense of things lost to time is pronounced but not overplayed and there's a gently elegiac quality to the developing picture of a warm and hazy English countryside summer. This pleasant vision is countered by his rawer and more acute account of the deep mark left on a man when a chance of happiness is glimpsed and missed and left to settle in the memory.
adicionada por VivienneR | editarThe Guardian, Natasha Tripney (Aug 8, 2010)
 

» Adicionar outros autores (5 possíveis)

Nome do autorPapelTipo de autorObra?Estado
Carr, J. L.autor principaltodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Benítez Ariza, José ManuelTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Blythe, IanIntroduçãoautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Blythe, RonaldIntroduçãoautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Emeis, MarijkeTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Fitzgerald, PenelopeIntroduçãoautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Holroyd, MichaelIntroduçãoautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Rogers, ByronPrefácioautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
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A novel - a small tale, generally of love'
- Dr Johnson's Dictionary

Now for a breath I tarry,
nor yet disperse apart -
Take my hand quick and tell me,
What have you in your heart.
- A. E. Housman

She comes not when Noon is on the roses -
Too bright is Day.
She comes not to the Soul till it reposes
From work and play.
But when Night is on the hills, and the great Voices
Roll in from sea
By starlight and by candlelight and dreamlight
She comes to me.
- Herbert Trench
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For Kathie (1980)
For Kathie
and for Sally . . . fare well

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When the train stopped I stumbled out, nudging and kicking the kitbag before me. Back down the platform someone was calling despairingly, 'Oxgodby . . . Oxgodby.'
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We can ask and ask, but we can't have again what we once thought ours forever...
Our jobs are our fantasies, our disguises, the cloak we can creep inside to hide.
It was the most extraordinary detail of medieval painting that I had ever seen ... "Is there anything anywhere else like it? In the same league?" No, I told him, there wasn't. Once, yes. But no longer. Croughton, Stoke, Orchard, St Albans, Great Harrowden - they'd all been splendid in their day. But not now.
On my way home ... on the empty road ... I suddenly yelled, "Oh you bastards You awful bloody bastards! You didn't need to have started it. And you could have stopped it before you did. God? Ha! There is no God."
So there I was, knowing that I had a masterpiece on my hands but scarcely prepared to admit it ... Each day I used to avoid taking in the whole.
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In J. L. Carr's deeply charged poetic novel, Tom Birkin, a veteran of the Great War and a broken marriage, arrives in the remote Yorkshire village of Oxgodby where he is to restore a recently discovered medieval mural in the local church. Living in the bell tower, surrounded by the resplendent countryside of high summer, and laboring each day to uncover an anonymous painter's depiction of the apocalypse, Birkin finds that he himself has been restored to a new, and hopeful, attachment to life. But summer ends, and with the work done, Birkin must leave. Now, long after, as he reflects on the passage of time and the power of art, he finds in his memories some consolation for all that has been lost.Copyright © Libri GmbH. All rights reserved.

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Edições: 0940322471, 1590176839

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