Together in Spirit

An online reading group ('TIS a reading group!) to bring together friends, and friends of friends, who aren't able to be in a conventional reading group due to constraints of time or geography.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Valerie's post on "A month in the country"

Rural Idyll in Yorkshire with Spoilers

This is a beautifully written short story set in summer in the Yorkshire countryside soon after the First World War. The activities of Tom Birkin and Moon, both slow and painstaking, add to the languorous feel of the narrative. The references to both men's experiences in the war contrast vividly with this rural idyll.

I enjoyed the clearly described characters. Even Edgar was brought to life in a very subtle manner, offering Emily Kathy's hat: Tom, unwelcome bicycle clips. The spare, precise writing drew you quickly into the time and place so that it was easy to imagine this community with its colourful characters, living in a bygone age. The darker side of life was included, with Emily dying of TB and the difficulty of the Keaches to be accepted together with Moon's problems as a homosexual. Even the Keaches failed to invite Tom and Moon to stay in their very large house.

The ending I think found Tom a little too restrained in his last meeting with Kathy and I would like to think that there could be some future resolution of his relationship with Alice. Unfortunately we know there was not.