Silver Wedding

( 31 )

Overview

As occasion to celebrate, when Desmond and Deirdre Doyle must gather family and friends around them in remembrance of the twenty-five years of marriage they've shared. A moment of reckoning as an uneasy couple is forced to face a hapless daughter still struggling to become a nun... a son who prefers the bleak family farm in Ireland to London... the once best man, now Desmond's boss... Deirdre's bridesmaid, now a successful career woman... and their priest with his guilty secret. A time of transformation for their...
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Overview

As occasion to celebrate, when Desmond and Deirdre Doyle must gather family and friends around them in remembrance of the twenty-five years of marriage they've shared. A moment of reckoning as an uneasy couple is forced to face a hapless daughter still struggling to become a nun... a son who prefers the bleak family farm in Ireland to London... the once best man, now Desmond's boss... Deirdre's bridesmaid, now a successful career woman... and their priest with his guilty secret. A time of transformation for their eldest daughter, Anna. For only Anna can confront their tarnished lives and find a truth to draw them into a circle of love that might nourish, protect, and finally heal them all.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The arrangements for celebrating Desmond and Deirdre Doyle's forthcoming silver wedding anniversary fall to Anna, their eldest daughter, who works in a pretentious London bookshop. Anna proceeds to make a list of guests, most important of whom, besides her parents and herself, are her sister Helen, brother Brendan, and three other participants in the wedding ceremony: the best man, Frank Quigley; Maureen Barry, the maid of honor; and Father Hurley. Each leisurely chapter deals with one of these characters, detailing their lives in the 25 years since the Doyle's marriage. Binchy Firefly Summer exhibits her gift for astute and loving characterization as she examines the way relationships and families work. She engagingly delineates the pressures, both stated and unstated, that repel or attract, the striving for approval from parents and lovers. At the silver wedding celebration, when the obligatory photograph is taken for the family album, the reader knows well what fears and doubts, secrets and achievements lie behind the happy smiles.
Robert Plunket
With Silver Wedding, Ms. Binchy tries something a little bit different, and as she does so you can sense a remarkably gifted writer beginning to flex her muscles....Silver Wedding takes on the tone and texture of a Barbara Pym novel - and I can offer no greater praise than that. Or no greater hope for Maeve Binchy's future.
New York Times
From the Publisher
“Reading these tales is like listening to someone talking: someone you very much want to hear.”
Sunday Telegraph

"A rousing good story.... Laughter and tears: it's  what Binchy does best."
San  Francisco Chronicle.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780440207771
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 11/28/1990
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reissue
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 389
  • Sales rank: 211,511
  • Lexile: 830L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 4.16 (w) x 6.89 (h) x 1.18 (d)

Meet the Author

Maeve Binchy

Born in Dublin, Maeve Binchy is the author of five collections of short stories and twelve novels including Circle of Friends, Light a Penny Candle, Tara Road, The Copper Beech, Evening Class and The Glass Lake.

Biography

If storytelling is an art, then Maeve Binchy is unquestionably one of today's master artists. After all, Binchy was born, educated, and lives in Ireland, a land well known for its great storytellers. Firmly grounded in the Irish storytelling tradition, Binchy has earned a sizeable following of enthusiastic fans for her 11 novels and 4 collections of short stories. I had a very happy childhood, which is unsuitable if you're going to be an Irish writer," Maeve jokes. Perhaps that happy childhood is why Binchy did not publish her first novel until she was 43 years old. But there's no doubt that once she did she proved herself to be an immensely talented, multiple New York Times-bestselling author. her name.

Binchy was introduced into the joys of storytelling at an early age. Her mother, Maureen, and father, William, a prominent Dublin barrister, encouraged Binchy and her three siblings to be avid readers as well as to share stories at dinner and, as her brother William admits, nobody loved telling stories more than Maeve.

Growing up in the quiet seaside town of Dalkey, located about 10 miles south of Dublin, Binchy also found herself dreaming of escape. "I love Dalkey now," she says, "but when I was young, I thought it was somewhat like living in the desert." Her desire to escape led her first to the big city, to the University College in Dublin, where she studied history and French. After graduating in 1960, she taught Latin, French, and history in a Dublin grade school and was able to indulge her love of traveling during summer vacations. She proved so popular a teacher that parents of her students pooled their money to send her on a trip to Israel. Her father was so impressed by the letters she wrote describing Israeli life that he typed them up and sent them to the Irish Independent newspaper. That's how Maeve returned home to find, quite to her surprise, that she was now a published writer.

Using her newfound interest in journalism, she got a job on The Irish Times as the women's editor, an unlikely role for her, she jokingly acknowledges, given her hopeless lack of fashion sense. In the early 70s, she shifted to feature reporting, and moved to London. The move was motivated only in part by her career. Making the kind of bold life-altering decision that many of her characters are prone to, Binchy decided to take a chance and move to London to be with the man she'd fallen in love with during a previous visit—Gordon Snell, a BBC broadcaster, children's book author, and mystery novelist.

The risk, as it often does in her novels, paid off big time. Maeve married Gordon in 1977, and the two remain happily married to this day. In 1980, they bought a one-bedroom cottage back in Binchy's old hometown of Dalkey. Struggling to make mortgage payments on their new home, Binchy, who had published two collections of her newspaper work and one of short stories, decided to try to sell her first novel, which she'd managed to write in between her newspaper assignments. When her publisher told her that Light A Penny Candle would likely be a bestseller, Maeve remembers her sense of shock. "I had to sit down," she recalls. "I had never even had enough money to pay the telephone bill."

Maeve and her husband still live in that same Dalkey cottage, where they share an office, writing side by side. "All I ever wanted to do," she says, "is to write stories that people will enjoy and feel at home with." She has unquestionably succeeded with that goal. Light A Penny Candle was followed by such bestselling works as Circle of Friends, which was turned into a major motion picture starring Minnie Driver, and Tara Road, an Oprah Book Club selection. Binchy is consistently named one of the most popular writers in readers' polls in England and Ireland, outselling and rated higher than James Joyce. Of this success, Binchy comments with her typical good humor, "If you're going on a plane journey, you're more likely to take one of my stories than Finnegan's Wake."

In addition to her books, Binchy is also a playwright whose works have been staged at The Peacock Theatre of Dublin, and was the author of a hugely popular monthly column called "Maeve's Week," which appeared in The Irish Times for 32 years. A kind of combined gossip, humor, and advice column, it achieved cult status in Ireland and abroad.

Author biography courtesy of Penguin Group (USA).

Good To Know

In our interview, Binchy shared some fun facts about herself with us:

"I am a big, confident, happy woman who had a loving childhood, a pleasant career, and a wonderful marriage. I feel very lucky."

"I have been lucky enough to travel a lot, meet great people in many lands. I have liked almost everyone I met along the way."

"I have always believed that life is too short for rows and disagreements. Even if I think I'm right, I would prefer to apologize and remain friends rather than win and be an enemy."

"I live in Ireland near the sea, only one mile from where I grew up -- that's good, since I've known many of my neighbours for between 50-60 years. Gordon and I play chess every day, and we are both equally bad. We play chatty over talkative bad Bridge with friends every week."

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    1. Hometown:
      Dublin, Ireland, and London, England
    1. Date of Birth:
      May 28, 1940
    2. Place of Birth:
      Dalkey, a small village outside Dublin, Ireland
    1. Education:
      Holy Child Convent in Killiney; B.A. in history, University College, Dublin, 1960

Read an Excerpt

A great wave of despair came over her. She knew she must not lose her temper, that the whole visit would have been useless if it ended in a row. She could hear Joe asking her mildly why on earth she took such long, wearying journeys if it only ended up making them all tense and unhappy.

Joe had life worked out all right.

She felt an ache, a physical ache to be with him and to sit on the floor by his chair while he stroked her hair.

She hadn't known it was possible to love somebody so intensely, and as she looked at the troubled man and woman sitting obediently on the sofa in front of her, she wondered if they had ever known any fraction of this kind of love. You never could think of your parents expressing love, it was gross beyond imagining to think of them coupling and loving like real people did . . . like she and Joe did. But Anna knew that everyone felt that about parents.

"Listen," she said, "I have to make a phone call. I want you to stop worrying about dinner for a moment, and just talk to each other about what you'd really like, then I'll start organizing it. Right?" Her eyes felt suspiciously bright. Maybe the little drinks hadn't agreed with her.

She went to the phone. She would find an excuse to talk to Joe, nothing heavy; just to hear his voice would make her feel fine again. She would tell him that she'd be home a little earlier than she thought, would she get Chinese take-out or a pizza or just some ice cream? She wouldn't tell him now or later how bleakly depressing her old home was, how sad and low her parents made her feel, how frustrated and furious. Joe Ashe wanted to hear none of this.

She dialed her ownnumber.

The phone was answered immediately; he must have been in the bedroom. It was a girl's voice.

Anna held the phone away from her ear like people often do in movies to show disbelief and confusion. She was aware she was doing this.

"Hello?" the girl said again.

"What number is that?" Anna asked.

"Hang on, the phone's on the floor, I can't read it. Wait a sec." The girl sounded good-natured. And young.

Anna stood there paralyzed. In the flat in Shepherd's Bush, the phone was indeed on the floor. To answer it you had to lean out of bed.

She didn't want the girl to struggle anymore; she knew the number.

"Is Joe there?" she asked. "Joe Ashe?"

"No, sorry, he went out for cigarettes, he'll be back in a few minutes."

Why hadn't he put the answering machine on? Anna asked herself. Why had he not automatically turned the switch, like he did always when leaving the flat? In case his agent rang. In case the call that would mean recognition came. Now the call that meant discovery had come instead.

She leaned against the wall of the house where she had grown up. She needed something to give her support.

The girl didn't like silences. "Are you still there? Do you want to ring him back or is he to ring you or what?"

"Um . . . I'm not sure." Anna fought for time.

If she got off the phone now, he would never know that she had found out. Things would be the same as they were; nothing would have changed. Suppose she said wrong number, or it doesn't matter, or I'll call again. The girl would shrug, hang up, and maybe might not even mention to Joe that someone had called and rung off. Anna would never ask, she wouldn't disturb what they had.

But what had they? They had a man who would bring a girl to her bed, to her bed, as soon as she was out of the house. Why try to preserve that? Because she loved him, and if she didn't preserve it, there would be a big screaming emptiness and she would miss him so much that she would die.

Suppose she said she'd hold on, and then confronted him? Would he be contrite? Would he explain that it was a fellow actress and they were just learning their lines?

Or would he say it was over? And then the emptiness and ache would begin.

The girl was anxious not to lose the call in case it might be a job for Joe.

"Hang on, I'll write down your name if you like, won't be a jiff, just let me get up, should be up anyway. . . . Let's see, there's some kind of a desk over here by the window. No, it's a dressing table . . . but there's an eyebrow pencil or something. Right, what's the name?"

Anna felt the bitter bile in her throat. In her bed, lying under the beautiful expensive bedspread she had bought last Christmas, was a naked girl who was now going to carry the phone across to the simple table where Anna's makeup stood.

"Does the phone stretch all right?" Anna heard herself asking.

The girl laughed. "Yes, it does, actually."

"Good. Well, put it down for a moment on the chair, the pink chair, and reach up onto the mantelpiece, good, and you'll find a spiral-backed pad with a pencil attached by a string."

"Hey?" The girl was surprised but not uneasy.

Anna continued. "Good, put back the eye pencil, it's kohl anyway, it wouldn't write well. Now just put down for Joe: "Anna rang. Anna Doyle. No message.'"

"Sure he can't ring you back?" A hint of anxiety had crept into the voice of yet another woman who was going to spend weeks, months, even years of her life trying to please Joe Ashe, say the right thing, not risk losing him.

"No, no, I'm with my parents at the moment. In fact, I'll be staying here the night. Could you tell him that?"

"Does he know where to find you?"

"Yes, but there's no need to ring me. I'll catch up on him another time."

When she had hung up, she stood holding on to the table for support. She remembered telling them that the hall was the very worst place to have a telephone. It was cold, it was too public, it was uncomfortable. Now she blessed them for having taken no notice of her.

She stood for a few moments, but her thoughts would not be gathered, they ran and scurried like mice around in her head. Finally, when she thought she had at least recovered the power of speech, she went back into the room where her mother and father sat. They who had never known the kind of love she knew or the kind of hurt. She said that if it wouldn't put them out, she'd like to stay the night, then they'd have all the time in the world to discuss the plans.

"You don't have to ask can you stay the night in your own home," her mother said, pleased and fussing. "I'll put a hot-water bottle in the bed just in case, the rooms are all there for you, not that any of you ever come and stay in them."

"Well, I'd love to tonight." Anna's smile was nailed firmly on her face.

They had gotten to the actual numbers that should be invited when Joe rang. She went to the phone calmly.

"She's gone," he said.

"Has she?" Her voice was detached.

"Yes. It wasn't important."

"No. No."

"No need for you to stay over and make a big scene and meaning-of-life confrontation."

"Oh, no, none of that."

He was nonplussed.

"So what are you going to do?" he asked.

"Stay here, as I told your friend."

"But not forever?"

"Of course not, just tonight."

"Then tomorrow night after work . . . you'll be home?"

"Yes, indeed, and you'll be packed."

"Anna, don't be so dramatic."

"Absolutely not, calmness itself. Stay there tonight, of course. No, for heaven's sake there's no need to go immediately. Just tomorrow evening. Right?"

"Stop this, Anna, I love you, you love me, I'm not lying to you."

"And neither am I to you, Joe, about tomorrow night. Truly."

She hung up.

When he called back ten minutes later, she answered the phone herself.

"Please don't be tiresome, Joe. That's a great word of yours . . . tiresome. You hate when people press you on things and ask you about things that concern them, tiresome you call it. Maybe I'm learning from you."

"We have to talk. . . ."

"Tomorrow after work. After my work, that is, you don't have any work, do you? We can talk then for a bit like about where I'm to send your mail, and there won't be any answering machine messages, so you'd better set something else up."

"But . . ."

"I won't come to the phone again, you'll have to talk to my father, and you always said he was a nice bloke with nothing to say. . . ."

She went back to the discussion. She saw that her mother and father were wondering about the phone calls.

"Sorry for the interruptions, I've been having a row with Joe Ashe, my boyfriend. It's very antisocial to bring it into this house, if he rings again I won't talk to him."

"Is it serious, the row?" her mother asked hopefully.

"Yes, Mother, you'll be glad to know it's fairly serious as rows go. Possibly final. Now let's see what people should have to eat."

And as she told them about a very nice woman called Philippa who ran a catering business, Anna Doyle's mind was far away. Her mind was back in the days when things had been new and exciting and when her life was filled to every corner by the presence of Joe.

It would be hard to fill up all those parts again.

She said that they could ask for sample menus and decide what they wanted. They would write to everyone in very good time, individual letters, personal letters with the invitation, that would mean it was special.

"It is special, isn't it? Twenty-five years married?" She looked from one to the other, hoping for reassurance. The cozy, claustrophobic sense of family that the Doyles had managed to create around them. To her surprise and regret it didn't seem to be there tonight. Mother and Father looked uncertain about whether a quarter of a century of marriage had been a good thing. This was the one time in her life that Anna needed some sense that things were permanent, that even if her own world was shifting, the rest of civilization was on fairly solid ground.

But maybe she was only reading her own situation into it all, like those poets who believed in the pathetic fallacy, who thought that nature changed to suit their moods, and that skies were gray when they were gray.

"We'll make it a marvelous occasion," she told her father and mother. "It's going to be even better than your wedding day, because we're all here to help celebrate it."

She was rewarded with two smiles and she realized it would at least be a project for the great, yawning, frighteningly empty summer that lay ahead of her.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 31 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(14)

4 Star

(9)

3 Star

(4)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

(3)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 31 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 27, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Not her best

    There was little in this novel to hold my interest. The characters did not deserve our caring much what happened to them. The author struggled with making the wedding interesting.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 10, 2011

    Another great Maeve Binchy read.

    Although this is not one of my favorite books that Maeve Binchy has written, I would recommend the read. She is a favorite author of mine. I do enjoy her books and look forward to the next.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 31, 2013

    Vivian's Bio

    Real name:Abyssian Jade likes to be called Vi or Vivian. Backstory:Her family was killed by pochers she escped but just barley she wound up unconsise for 3 days because she protected her youngest brother with her body she was raised by vampires. Looks while human:5'6 .Skinny.Athletic.with long hair that falls to her lower back it is white with gold on the ends. Her eyes are sage green. Looks as a wolf:exactly the same except she is a wolf

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 17, 2013

    Medi cat den

    Starflight

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 1, 2012

    Beth

    Thank you everyone for attending the wedding!

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 1, 2012

    Andrew

    My gift for ya'll is jake... ur gift is a gole hummer mimi... a limo with her name ingraved on it

    0 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 1, 2012

    Izzy

    *whimpers, wants to be their dog*

    0 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 1, 2012

    Arielle

    Ok

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 1, 2012

    Jake

    Ummm reception i think so every one go to house third result for the recption

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 1, 2012

    Jt to mim

    Can i come?

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 1, 2012

    Xavier

    Hey guys 30 mins and counting

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 21, 2003

    Sweet Read

    As usual the reviews are all quiet different. This book to me was a fast smooth meaty read for those that love a 'story' which stands alone. MB characters come alive -- shes great at storytelling. See for yourself !!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 22, 2003

    Not that great

    Overall, the story was not very interesting and engaging but if you are anxious to get thru' it, it could be a fast and easy read. The various characters were not very rich and give me the impression that they were very flat. The ending can only be that good, sort of like an ending without an ending, as weird as it may sound. Only recommended to those who love family related stories.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 19, 2000

    Great character involvment with a mental view of the family

    I loved the relationships between the characters which developed throughout this book in each of its chapters. I thought Maeve did a fabulous job of bringing out the nuiances in this family without shedding too much dirty laundry.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 8, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 13, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 28, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 8, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 25, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 10, 2013

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 31 Customer Reviews

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