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A Month in the Country

J. L. Carr Penelope Fitzgerald



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22 August 2000
Fiction & Literature; Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945); Classic fiction (pre c 1945)

ABBEY'S BOOKSELLER PICK ----- Tom Birkin, damaged by the First World War, heads to a small country town called Oxgodby. He is there to uncover and restore a medieval painting. This is an exquisitely paced novel, an elegy for a time long gone. Birkin finds his spirit renewed as he experiences village life. A perfect book. Greg Waldron



A damaged survivor of the First World War, Tom Birkin finds refuge in the quiet village church of Oxgodby where he is to spend the summer uncovering a huge medieval wall-painting. Immersed in the peace and beauty of the countryside and the unchanging rhythms of village life, he experiences a sense of renewal and belief in the future. Now an old man, Birkin looks back on the idyllic summer of 1920, remembering a vanished place of blissful calm, untouched by change, a precious moment he has carried with him through the disappointments of the years.


Adapted into a 1987 film starring Colin Firth, Natasha Richardson and Kenneth Branagh, A Month in the Country traces the slow revival of the primeval rhythms of life so cruelly disorientated by the Great War.


If you enjoyed this book, you might also like Ford Madox Ford's Parade's End, also available in Penguin Modern Classics.

By:   J. L. Carr
Introduction by:   Penelope Fitzgerald
Imprint:   Penguin
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 198mm,  Width: 129mm,  Spine: 7mm
Weight:   100g
ISBN:   9780141182308
ISBN 10:   014118230X
Series:   Penguin Modern Classics
Pages:   112
Publication Date:   22 August 2000
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

James Lloyd Carr, born 1912, attended the village school at Carlton Miniott in the North Riding and Castleford Secondary School. He died in Northamptonshire in 1994.

Reviews for A Month in the Country

Tender and elegant Guardian Unlike anything else in modern English Literature -- D.J. Taylor Spectator Carr's blessedly small tale of lost love is also a small hymn about art and the compensating joy of the artist, both in giving and receiving. It stays with us, too, and is oddly haunting New Yorker Carr has the magic touch to re-enter the imagined past -- Penelope Fitzgerald

  • Winner of Guardian Fiction Prize 1980
  • Winner of Guardian Fiction Prize 1980.

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