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Mr. Lynch's Holiday

3.63  ·  Rating Details ·  534 Ratings  ·  129 Reviews
A sophisticated and touching novel of a father and son reconnecting in a foreign place, from the award-winning and bestselling author of What Was Lost

Retired bus driver and recent widower Dermot Lynch grabs his bags from the bus’s dusty undercarriage and begins to climb the hill to his son’s house. It is Dermot’s first time in Spain and the first time he’s been out of Birm
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published October 8th 2013 by Henry Holt and Co. (first published August 1st 2013)
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Aug 14, 2014 Annet rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Exceptional talented writer, unique stories. You have to get used to them, but they grow on you, I find. I had the same experience with the other two books I read from this writer.
A smile and a tear. If a book does that to you, and this one did, it's a four star for me.

It's about Dermott Lynch, a retired Irish busdriver who flies out to Lombaverde in Spain, after his wife died, to visit his son who started living there with his girlfriend working remotely as online editors. The new life. When
Canadian Reader
May 24, 2017 Canadian Reader rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fathers-sons
O'Flynn is a wonderful writer! In Mr. Lynch's Holiday, she artfully explores the relationship between a recently bereaved father in his seventies and his thirty-something son, Eamonn, whose wife, Laura, has recently returned to her childhood home in England "to think things through."

A few years back, the young couple had left gloomy, drizzly Birmingham for sunny Spain, but the builders of the hastily constructed, Bauhaus-styled housing estate they settled in went bust, and many of the dwellings
Jan 12, 2014 Veronica rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Reading other reviews, I can't help feeling this book is underrated by many. I enjoyed both of Catherine O'Flynn's previous books, but I think she reaches new heights here. Ignore the Daily Fail's claim that she's "a comic genius" -- yes, there are funny incidents and characters, but this novel is far more than social comedy. O'Flynn is a very worth successor to Jonathan Coe in her ability to combine humour and pathos, often in the same sentence.

The setting is one that's very familiar to me, and
Richard Sutton
Jan 16, 2015 Richard Sutton rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is my first reading of Ms. O'Flynn's work, and I found it an incredible blend of insight, and humor. It deals with several subjects that continue to confound us as we age. Feeling of being disconnected with our lives, feelings of having made terrible choices that we can't rise above, feelings of having lost our closest family members over time, inability to cope with actual loss. The author brings such a refreshing, reassuring viewpoint to the ageless mystery of fathers and sons, she held m ...more
Jul 27, 2015 James rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Catherine O'Flynn is a fine writer with an ability to take the ordinary and make it fresh, funny and moving. A retired bus driver decides on a surprise visit of his son in Spain. The son is marooned in a housing development that has subsequently gone bankrupt and is at loss with what to do in his life. On the face of it is all a little mundane, pragmatic salt of the earth father sets out to rescue helpless university educated son with his struggles. What makes it such an enjoyable read is the te ...more
Christine Zibas
Feb 01, 2016 Christine Zibas rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the sort of novel that sneaks up on you and steals its way into your heart, without warning. Set in a crumbling Spanish housing development encased in foreigners’ dreams, this novel tells the story of father and son. Dermot Lynch, a retired Birmingham bus driver, has gone on vacation to visit his only son, Eamonn.

Without being prepared for his father’s arrival, Eamonn doesn’t have time to make excuses to prevent his father’s unexpected visit. Meanwhile his life is falling apart: His hous
Dec 05, 2013 Yvonne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A wonderful, charming read by the funny, talented and wise Catherine O'Flynn.

Eamonn's wife Laura has left him and returned to England to rethink their relationship. Left him alone in their near empty new development home in Spain, surrounded by unfinished houses, current residents unable to sell after the corrupt developers left everyone in the lurch.

Eamonn's father Dermot has recently buried his wife Kathleen, Eamonn's mother. Dermot spent his life as a bus driver in Birmingham and decides to
Aug 19, 2013 Carol rated it really liked it
I loved Mr. Lynch’s Holiday by Catherine O’Flynn but I didn’t love the beginning. It was so depressing that I wondered if I could finish the book! But I am very glad that I did. The author slowly developed a tale of family relationships that did not work.

Dermot Lynch, a retiree and recent widower who lives in the U.K. decides to a take a trip to see his son who lives in Spain.

Dermot’s son, Eamonn lives in a development that has been abandoned by the builders and investors. Eamonn feels lost in
Feb 10, 2014 Katharine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is kind of a sleeper of a novel. On one level it is the story of a father and son trying to reconnect. By locating the story in a half finished vacation development in Spain torpedoed by the great recession, it is also a document of the hopes and aspirations of middle class people to have it all. The other story lurking within is about who is an immigrant and what that means. Dermot immigrates to to Birmingham in the 1950s from Ireland and works as a bus driver until retirement. A recent wi ...more
Jan 25, 2014 Marcia rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, library, x2014
A strange but lovely story about Dermot Lynch and his son, Eamonn, with referenced appearances by their wives, Kathleen and Laura, respectively. And then, there's Lomaverde....

Opening lines:
He arrived on a cloudless day. As he stepped onto the tarmac, he looked up at the sky and saw nothing but blue and the traces left by other planes.

Thoughtful passages:
He found the pay phones and pulled an address book out of his bag. The book was ancient, a faded lady with a parasol on the cover, the Sellotap
Because of synopses mentioning "holidays" and "Spain," I requested this book, expecting a somewhat light and enjoyable read. The book turned out to be so much more! It was definitely enjoyable, but also a portrait of conflicting approaches to life -- specifically the ability to make the best of a situation versus losing what is "good enough" in pursuit of "the perfect." I thought the author did a particularly good job of conveying an almost tangible sense of atmosphere. As I read the chapters wi ...more
Mary Lou
Dec 08, 2013 Mary Lou rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
With a deft flick of the pen, Catherine O'Flynn turns a novel about expats living their dream retirement in Spain into something entirely unexpected. An entertaining,funny and touching novel, with great sympathy and insight for the characters and unusual little sidesteps.
Jun 07, 2013 Martina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very funny and touching. I laughed and cried during the course of reading it. Recommended.
Feb 05, 2017 Bernadette rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved the characters and the circumstances they found themselves in. A nicely drawn picture of father/son relationship and where the mother fitted in also.
Amanda Fairchild
Oct 03, 2016 Amanda Fairchild rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As usual with Catherine O'Flynn, this book is superbly written and full of descriptions which leap off the page.
A truly charming novel that transports the reader to the Almeria/Andalusia region of Spain.

To the urbanisation of Lomaverde, to be precise, where a mix of expats has bought property with beautiful views across the landscape. But the beauty stops there. This is a development where the building works have stopped, the developer has ceased trading, where roads fade into rocky tracks and where swimming pools, once the pivotal feature of the ex pat lifestyle, are leaking water. Cats prowl about, crac
I have never read a novel by Catherine O'Flynn prior to this but I really ended up loving the story of Dermot and Eamonn Lynch. It ultimately left me with a lot of thoughts concerning what is home to most people and ex-pats living abroad.

Dermot, after the death of his wife decides to visit his son Eamonn and his girlfriend Laura in Lomaverde, Spain. Eamonn and Laura are ex-pats from England and decide to buy a home in Spain and really start to live their life in the fun and the sun. However, aw
Jan 03, 2017 Denae rated it it was ok
I gave this a 2 star because I did not enjoy the book very much, it was a fast read, but I found it kind of boring... that said, it does explore the relationship between father and son, which is always interesting...
A short time ago, I spent an afternoon with some relatives who shared the Irish “love for regrets.” Dermot Lynch, a recent widower, is not an Irishman who lives for or loves regrets; author Catherine O’Flynn’s sense of humor and writing skill will simply not allow it.

The seventy-five year old, retired bus driver who loved his work, a hearty soul, Dermot visits his thirty-three year old son, Eamonn, living in Lomaverde, an unfinished community, victim of the housing crisis, isolated on the south
David Harris
Sep 03, 2013 David Harris rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Catherine O'Flynn's new book takes a break, as it were, leaving Birmingham - setting of What Was Lost and The News Where You Are - for two weeks in the Spanish sun. Retired bus-driver Dermot Lynch, 76 and recently widowed (widowered?) makes an unexpected visit to his son. Eamonn bought an apartment at the height of the property boom and is now stuck in the new-built (well, half-built) paradise of Lomaverde. His girlfriend is absent, the car won't start and he's had to trade down his job. It woul ...more
Lisa Guidarini
Dermot Lynch, recently retired and recovering from the loss of his wife several months prior, sets off on a trip to visit his son Eammon, who's been living in Spain with his girlfriend Laura. To Eammon's exasperation, the man shows up on his doorstep before the letter announcing his visit arrives, preventing him from asking him not to come. Because there's nothing Eammon can imagine that he wants less at this point in time than the intrusion of his father.

In the grip of deep depression, Eammon h
Apr 30, 2014 Diane rated it it was amazing
Dermot Lynch is a retired bus driver from Birmingham, England whose wife Katherine has recently passed away. He has cleared out all of her belongings and decides to visit his only child, an estranged son, Eamonn, and his girlfriend, Laura in Spain. The two emigrated there with high expectations for an ideal life, with Eamonn hoping to write a book.

Eamonn and Laura purchased a home in a planned development in Lomaverde, by the sea, but life there is not as they imagined. The development is only h
The Short of It:

Things don’t always happen as planned. Sometimes, you need to be rescued.

The Rest of It:

After his wife’s death, Dermot Lynch leaves his home in England to visit his estranged son, Eamonn, who’s made a new life for himself in Spain. When Dermot arrives unannounced, what he finds is that Lomaverde is not the ideal neighborhood that Eamonn had described. Its dilapidated appearance, its empty pools and the feral cats are just a few of the tip-offs that things are not going well for E
Jayne Charles
Catherine O’Flynn is such a class act, I would read anything she put out there, so it was great to find this one in the book shop. The trouble was, I didn’t like it half as much as the previous two. I made an assumption that the humour that characterised her first two novels would continue in this one, but I didn’t laugh once from start to finish. Here the category would be “poignant” (and there’s something about that word that makes me cringe but there’s no alternative in this case).

With its fa
Sep 21, 2013 Anne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle
I loved Catherine O’Flynn’s first book, What Was Lost, with its endearing heroine in young detective Kate Meaney, its wry comment on our consumer society and its memorable setting of Green Oaks shopping centre. For some inexplicable reason, her second – The News Where You Are – is still sitting unread, but I eagerly grasped the opportunity to read this new one when it was offered by netgalley and publishers Penguin UK.

In the same way as Green Oaks came to life in her first book, the true star of
May 26, 2013 Mel rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: contemporary
Eamonn Lynch is stuck in Spain, in a village that was never completed due to financial difficulties and the global recession. He’s lost his job and his wife has just left him when his father Dermot visits unexpectedly. There are many differences between Eamonn and his father – not just generational, but aspirational as well. Eamonn works with computers, an area than befuddles his father, a retired bus driver. Dermot arrived in the UK from Ireland and considers himself Irish while Eamonn thinks o ...more
Nancy Kennedy
Nov 23, 2014 Nancy Kennedy rated it really liked it
Dermot Lynch, who has lived most of his adult life in Birmingham, England, and worked as a bus driver, takes a holiday to Spain to visit his son, who lives in a decrepit housing development that was never finished. By the end of the book, he has spent two weeks with his son.

If you're looking for plot, you might want another book, because this is pretty much it. The book is more a character study than a plot-driven novel. Through Dermot's eyes, and the eyes of his son, Eamonn, we meet the other e
Karen M
Sep 08, 2013 Karen M rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads, fiction
It was easy for me to give this book four stars. Good writing tends to make me want to give four stars and it was very easy with this book.

Dermot Lynch travels to Spain to visit his only son. He's now retired and lost his wife who has passed on after a long slow death from cancer and he needs to connect with his son. Eamonn's relocated to Spain with Laura, his wife, but has also suffered a loss and it too was slow. Eamonn's wife has left him and left him more lost and confused than he was when s
Sep 30, 2013 Lucy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2013, for-review
I was really excited to be asked to read Mr Lynch’s Holiday. I loved What Was Lost, and quite enjoyed The News Where You Are. To be honest part of the reason I’ve liked those two books is that they are set in Birmingham, and that made me interested to see a Catherine O’Flynn writing in a different setting.

There was a bit more of Birmingham than I expected, but I kind of liked the contrast, and in a way it was a real Brummie‘s book, because most of the time Birmingham came off well! Having said t
Julie Ma
I had to leave the house at 7.00 am on a bright Sunday morning in May but it was well worth it to be able to attend the lovely breakfast reading Catherine gave at Hay on Wye this year. The reward for peeling myself out of bed at such an unearthly hour was a scrummy preview copy of this book (my first ever!) and also a letter from Penguin suggesting that we post our reviews up here.

If you have read any of Catherine's other novels, you will know that she is all about families - exasperating, disa
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Catherine O'Flynn, born in 1970, is a British writer.

Her debut novel, What Was Lost, won the Costa First Novel Award, was shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award, The Commonwealth Writers' Prize and The Southbank Show Literature Award. It was longlisted for the Booker and Orange Prizes. She was named Waterstone’s Newcomer of the Year at the 2008 Galaxy British Book Awards.

Her second novel T
More about Catherine O'Flynn...

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“Dermot studied the backs of his hands. "I always loved her." He placed them flat on his knees. "But I've been less lonely since she's gone.” 0 likes
“I think sometimes you lose people and you barely know it at the time. It starts as a small crack. That's all it is. It takes years, a lifetime, before you notice what went out through the crack. How much you lost.” 0 likes
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