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New York Review of Books

A Month in the Country

A Month in the Country

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A short, spellbinding novel about a WWI veteran finding a way to re-enter--and fully embrace--normal life while spending the summer in an idyllic English village.

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.

Author: J. L. Carr
Publisher: New York Review of Books
Published: 10/31/2000
Pages: 135
Binding Type: Paperback
Weight: 0.37lbs
Size: 8.03h x 5.01w x 0.44d
ISBN: 9780940322479

Review Citation(s):
Publishers Weekly 10/16/2000 pg. 51
Atlantic Monthly 03/01/2001 pg. 92
Library Journal 02/01/2001 pg. 129
Commonweal 12/07/2007 pg. 28

About the Author
James Lloyd Carr was born in 1912 and attended the village school at Carlton Miniott in Yorkshire. A head teacher, publisher, and novelist, his books include A Day in Summer (1964); A Season in Sinji (1967); The Harpole Report (1972); How Steeple Sinderby Wanderers Won the FA Cup (1975); A Month in the Country (1980), which won the Guardian Fiction Prize and was shortlisted for the Booker Prize; The Battle of Pollock's Crossing (1985), also shortlisted for the the Booker Prize; What Hetty Did(1988); and Harpole & Foxberrow General Publishers (1992). He died in Northhamptonshire in 1994.

Michael Holroyd is the author of acclaimed biographies of Lytton Strachey, Bernard Shaw, and Augustus John. He has also written a memoir, Basil Street Blues. He lives in London with his wife, the writer Margaret Drabble.
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