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Evening Class

3.96  ·  Rating Details  ·  31,190 Ratings  ·  766 Reviews
Dreaming of Italy, eager to learn the language, a disparate group of Dubliners comes together for an introductory Italian course held in a drab classroom every Tuesday and Thursday evening. The teacher, Aidan Dunne, has hit an all-time low in both his career and family life, and so his self-image is hinging on the success of this class. - The students are a varied cast of ...more
Paperback, 520 pages
Published January 1st 1997 by Orion (first published 1996)
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Heartwarmers
60th out of 185 books — 244 voters


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deliabookworm
Aug 04, 2009 deliabookworm rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read Evening Class one broiling summer at my grandparent's house in Baltimore. It was 98 degrees every day; with the humidity it felt hotter. To make things even worse, I had my period that week. I also hadn't brought enough books to read. I finished (and reread) the six books I had taken, then proceeded to raid my grandmother's bookshelf. The first book I borrowed was The Lord of the Flies, the second, Death of a Salesman. It was with relief I picked up a book that looked remotely like chickl ...more
Kathryn
I really wish that this site had half stars because I would push this up to a 3.5 stars, but couldn't really give it the full 4. The format of this book was especially interesting because if followed different individual characters for a period and than brought all their stories together in the end. I am definitely a Maeve Binchy fan now and would read anything written by her. Her books make everyday type events and people interesting.
Suzanne
Feb 21, 2015 Suzanne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a lovely book, Maeve is just the best. I loved this so much as I haven't travelled, but I can say she took me there. Maeve Binchy is an author that you think you know, kinship could be the word? When she passed away I was incredibly sad, and surprised by it. She writes the type of book to re read. Actually, I think she may have been one of my first authors I read as an older teen, not 'Dolly Fiction' etc. My mum leant me hers and it became a 'thing' of ours. This is what is uber cool abo ...more
Prillia
May 21, 2007 Prillia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's a bad thing about Binchy's books. Once I start reading, I couldn't stop myself. The day before yesterday at midday I started to read Evening, I didn't do other things except reading it to the last. It was about 2 o'clock in the morning when my eyes couldn't recognise a single word. My brain still on it, but the eyes stopped to cooperate.

Once again, Evening Class was a sweet story about people who gathered in an Italian evening class. People like Signora O'Donoghue, Aidan Duenne, Katherine a
...more
Maureen Mullis
Aug 05, 2012 Maureen Mullis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Just a breathtaking book! Maeve Binchy is one of the best story tellers the world has known. The layers, the depth, the richness of her books is unparalleled. Evening Class, about people who come together two evenings a week to study Italian and the culture of Italy. Each chapter covers the story of a student and how they wound up there. So marvelous. These characters will hang in your mind long after you turn the last page.
Tina
**SPOILERS .... BEWARE!!!**

I found this read pretty interesting. Each chapter is narrated by a different character & all of the characters are intertwined in some way, other than their obvious attendance to the evening class. This shouldn't have been a problem…. but by the time I got to the 6th character (or-so) I'd forgotten the first 5 & had to seriously rack my brain to figure out how the characters were connected, who was who, and who did what. (Maybe it’s my ever-increasing old age.
...more
Christine
This is the first novel I have read by Binchy. I am not sure why I avoided her in the past. For some reason, her cover art screamed bad romance novel, I guess. I was pleasantly surprised to find a character driven novel that was pleasant to read. Certainly not great literature, but not a bad summer read for some fun. Things I liked: Characters were well developed, it is clear that the author knows that aspect well. The way the story was told from numerous points of view in the format of each mai ...more
Loralee
Jan 23, 2010 Loralee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: chick-lit
Maeve Binchy is my new favorite author. She takes ordinary characters, takes a long chapter to share their story, and then intertwines all their stories to make a satisfying book.

Aiden Dunne is a hardworking Latin teacher in a working class neighborhood in Dublin, Ireland. He has devoted his life to the school in the hope of becoming the principal someday. The school leadership has other ideas, but to soften the blow, he is offered the chance to start an evening school.

Nora O'Donoghue, a Dublin
...more
Suzanne
This is not one of Maeve's better books (Circle of Friends and Tara Road are better) but is a fun read and enjoyable. The plot centers around an Evening Class" (held in a small town in Ireland) teaching the Italian language and its culture to a group of Irish adults who need something new to jumpstart their engines and break up the monotony of their lives. Each student has his story and Binchy brings them all together and sews up every loose end using her superb easy style in a thoroughly entert ...more
Beth
Oct 28, 2007 Beth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For some time now I've been thinking about creative formats for novels, and one of my best ideas was to introduce an extremely-unlikely-to-have-anything-to-do-with-each-other set of characters and tell their various stories until they all twine into one. Maeve Binchy did something very similar to that in Evening Class, and that was what made this book shine for me. (Her plot, as usual, had a fair amount of angst and marital affairs, but I guess I'm getting used to that.) She waited to tell many ...more
Sarah
May 12, 2012 Sarah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've read many of Maeve Binchy's books, but this one is still my favorite. Nora, a young Irish girl from a loveless home, falls hopelessly in love with Mario and follows him back to Sicily, even though he intends to marry the girl his family has picked out for him. She stays there for twenty-five years, sitting in a room across the square from where Mario and his family live, watching their comings and goings. But that's all backstory. The real story begins when Nora, now known as "Signora," fin ...more
Cammie
Jun 15, 2012 Cammie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romance, irish, fiction
I love Maeve Binchy stories, but this is my all-time favorite of hers. It is the story of how to make the best out of your lot in life and actually enriching that life through positive steps such as learning a foreign language.

Aiden Dunne is a middle aged married man, father of two daughters. He is taken for granted by his daughters and ignored by his wife. He has just suffered a major setback in that the promotion he was expecting at his school was given to a much younger, less experienced man
...more
Kerry
Jun 08, 2013 Kerry rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
'Evening Class' is an enjoyable piece of chick-lit which tells the story of how an evening class at a rundown high school, changes various individuals' lives. It's long, but worth the effort, in that it has that 'feel good' factor, and makes for an enjoyable story that you can read anywhere.

Nevertheless, I had quite a few complaints with the book. I found the main character of Signora utterly detestable and pathetic, and therefore very difficult to warm to, and I felt that with many of the char
...more
jacky
May 15, 2011 jacky rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I never would have thought to pick this up on my own. It was one of the thousands of books that line the library and book store that I've never heard of and don't think to pick up because there are so many other books I'm intent on reading. My on line book club chose to read this one. I wasn't sure I was going to like it at first, and wasn't thrilled about the length, but I enjoyed it right from the first few pages. What I particularly enjoyed about this book was that each section follows a new ...more
Vicky
Jun 14, 2014 Vicky rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the first Binchy novel that I read, and I loved it. As someone living for a long time outside of the country of my birth, I especially liked the parts about the teacher living for so many years in the small town in Italy.
Maggie
Aug 28, 2010 Maggie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Maeve Binchy is my new favorite author. She takes ordinary characters, takes a long chapter to share their story, and then intertwines all their stories to make a satisfying book.

I thought this was a delightful read. I loved getting to know the main characters of the story and see how the lives of those who signed up for the Evening Class became intertwined with each other. It was funny, sad, poignant, happy, and a good read. It was really hard to put it down each night and go to sleep. Can't wa
...more
Krista
Mar 19, 2009 Krista rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really great, dynamic characters. You just cheer for them all the way as they learn Italian and figure out how to shape their lives. Each chapter is from the point of view of a different character, and having them intertwine is fun in the way that seeing a character show up in cameo in another tv series is fun. Pretty confusing, though, as there are a couple dozen characters at least, and several of them have second, Italian names. Pretty quick and easy to read, and has a few really good chuckle ...more
Julie
Mar 17, 2015 Julie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As I first started reading this, I felt "hoo humm, this is slow, gonna take me forever" and yet somehow I had trouble putting it down. I think it was the characters, I very quickly became interested in them and wanted to know what would happen to them, would they find their happiness? But it was still a pretty slow pace. Takes a while just for the class to get started. But somewhere in the early middle there it started getting really interesting, still slow-paced, but lots of intriguing connecti ...more
Cheryl
Jul 17, 2013 Cheryl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
It was a delightful read. I felt like living inside each of the character's own dreams and wishful thinking. It was noteworthy to think that Maeve Binchy is very much concerned with every character's right to a private and distinguishable life. It was also marvelous how she can prove through one single read how small the world really is. The plot of the novel had me guessing all throughout whether who was and who is. It was an enjoying classy tale of love and friendship.
Elisha Condie
Sep 17, 2014 Elisha Condie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love Maeve Binchy. Just love her. She has this way of writing that is kind of like watching somebody put a watch together. All the characters are little cogs and springs and they seem totally unrelated at first until she starts drawing them together to make this whole story. It kills me. Every. Time. No characters are ever wasted. If you meet somebody, you can be sure they'll pop up again later in some small but important way.

This story is about an adult continuing education type class (Lea
...more
Kelly
Mar 17, 2012 Kelly rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Reread. Rereading a Maeve Binchy is like slipping into an old comfy robe. I always wonder what it is about her books... she's not the most thrilling writer, but I keep coming back. I suppose it is becasue she creates such sympathetic characters. Most books have a huge cast, yet you are interested in each one. This particular story takes place in an evening class of people learning Italian, and why they tsake the class and how it changes their lives.
Kosuke Kamiya
May 19, 2015 Kosuke Kamiya rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
1 level 3 Penguin

2 5/17=100min, 5/19=60min, 5/20=60min

3 evening, class, school, Italy, life, complication, love,

4 a Lizzie said suddenly ‘Ti amo.’
‘It means I love you. They were the two most beautiful words in the world.’
‘They are, they are,’ said Bill

4 b I felt very happy to see the scene because it is very wonderful that a couple tells love words with each other, using second language. There is simple expression all over the world. ‘Ti amo,’ means ‘I love you’ in English and Suk iin Japanese.
...more
Alison C
Mar 13, 2015 Alison C rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My mother recently visited me and left Maeve Binchy's novel, Evening Class, for me to read, and I'm very glad she did as she's not an author I've read before. Evening Class is set in Dublin and is essentially a collection of inter-related stories about a group of people who come together to take a course in Italian. The glue that holds together all of these people is Signora, the teacher who had spent 26 years in Sicily before returning home to Ireland following the death of the love of her life ...more
Sonia
Dec 25, 2008 Sonia rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I admit I read this out of guilt, because my mom gifted it to me a few years ago (it's about a Latin teacher with Italophilia). Plus I needed something to pass the night in PDX. But the book was LOUSY. The characters had all the depth of a jello parfait. I do not understand the appeal of this writing at all.
Sandra
Mar 13, 2009 Sandra rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Cathy
Feb 20, 2009 Cathy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2005-books
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ang
Jul 05, 2008 Ang rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I fell in love with the characters, Italy and the Italian language!! A beautiful Signora returns to Ireland to teach Italian to a diverse group of people. They visit the country...you can feel the sun...an addictive read!
Piara Strainge
Feb 07, 2016 Piara Strainge rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So with all the commuting I'm doing now, I'm reading like crazy and averaging about a book a week! Which is great because I always did want to read more...

I'm a massive fan of MB and this was another excellent story coming from lots of different perspectives, but then she brings it altogether as the book progresses. I love the way the characters are all part of each others lives before we even know it. MB does storytelling so well and the plot unfolds effortlessly.

This particular story piqued my
...more
Marti
Jan 01, 2014 Marti rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
While the organization of this book is almost identical to the last Maeve Binchy novel I read, Copper Beech, I liked this book much more. In this novel, teacher Aiden Dunne feels certain he will be promoted to principal of the run-down school in which he has taught for most of his adult life. In a way, that promotion was the only thing he had to look forward to. He once had had a loving, close relationship with his wife and two daughters but that is sadly no longer the case. His wife barely spea ...more
Marian
Dec 13, 2011 Marian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: chick-lit, irish, italian
Very fun read! Brought together two of my favorite places, Italy & Ireland. I now want to go learn Italian in some obscure night class:)
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Maeve Binchy was born on 28 May 1940 in Dalkey, County Dublin, Ireland, the eldest child of four. Her parents were very positive and provided her with a happy childhood. Although she described herself as an overweight child, her parents' attitude gave her the confidence to accept herself for who she was.

She studied at University College Dublin and was a teacher for a while. She also loved travelin
...more
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