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Evening Class

3.97  ·  Rating Details ·  33,621 Ratings  ·  827 Reviews
Among the many evening classes starting all over Dublin is an 'Introduction to Italian'. On the surface it could be just one of hundreds in which some students will succeed and some will fall along the way. the hopes and dreams of so many people are tied up in the twice weekly lessons. they are ready to set off on the promised trip to Italy at the end of the year, everyone ...more
Paperback, 528 pages
Published June 30th 2005 by Orion Publishing Group (first published 1996)
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David There isn't one. It's one of her new-protagonist-every-chapter-but-they-all-know-each-other books. That said, it's also the best I've read so far of…moreThere isn't one. It's one of her new-protagonist-every-chapter-but-they-all-know-each-other books. That said, it's also the best I've read so far of that bunch. She's hit or miss, but this is a hit!(less)

Community Reviews

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Suzanne
Dec 29, 2013 Suzanne rated it really liked it
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 her Maeve books and it became a 'thing' of ours. This is what is ub ...more
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
Lisa
Oct 09, 2016 Lisa rated it really liked it
Shelves: top-author, audio
Awwww I didn't want this book to end!!! This is Maeve at her best - weaving together the stories of people attending an evening class in Italian.
Such a cosy heart warming story and the audio version (read by Kate Binchy) is as always superb.
I love these people and want them to be my friends!I could listen to this family saga for hours...bliss.
Kathryn
Aug 03, 2008 Kathryn rated it liked it
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.
Prillia
May 21, 2007 Prillia rated it really liked it
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 01, 2012 Maureen Mullis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: women-s-fiction
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
Sep 19, 2012 Tina rated it liked it
**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
May 20, 2011 Christine added it
Shelves: nocwbc-picks
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
Tiffany
Jan 29, 2017 Tiffany rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
I think I'm reading so many of these because they represent an escape from the absolute awfulness all around right now. This book made me want to learn Italian or take a class for fun.
Loralee
Jan 23, 2010 Loralee rated it really liked it
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
Mar 04, 2008 Suzanne rated it liked it
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
Marialena I.
Feb 07, 2017 Marialena I. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books
Ένα εξαιρετικό βιβλίο για το πώς ένας κοινός στόχος όπως η εκμάθηση ιταλικών, βοήθησε τους χαρακτήρες να βρουν τον σκοπό της ζωής τους, να επαναπροσδιορίσουν καταστάσεις, να αγαπήσουν εκ νέου και να γίνουν φίλοι χωρίς να υπολογίσουν την διαφορετικότητα και το παρελθόν του καθενός! Όποιος το διαβάσει θα λατρέψει την Ιταλία όπως και οι ήρωες του βιβλίου!
Sarah
May 08, 2012 Sarah rated it it was amazing
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
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
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
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.
Ghost of the Library
Ah the magic of the irish and its story telling skills...bewitching they are rumored to be when a good teller of tales is found, and such i believe is the case with Maeve Binchy herself.
Evening Class and its 8 characters is another fine, if not perfect, example of Ms. Binchys qualities and skills in drawing a reader to her story like you would be drawn into a talk with a friend you havent seen in ages, but long to know how he/she is doing. Youll probably shed a tear or get angry over some wrong
...more
Notserp2002
Jan 17, 2017 Notserp2002 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
loved this!
Beth
Oct 19, 2016 Beth rated it it was amazing
A lovely feel-good book packed with sympathetic and realistic characters to love and root for.
Cammie
Jun 15, 2012 Cammie rated it it was amazing
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
jacky
Dec 03, 2010 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
Maggie
Aug 16, 2010 Maggie rated it really liked it
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 12, 2009 Krista rated it liked it
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
Mary
Aug 22, 2016 Mary rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, 2016-read
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kellie
Oct 23, 2008 Kellie rated it it was amazing
This was a very enjoyable read. I love the format. Binchy devotes a chapter each to 8 main characters and they are all affiliated with an adult Italian class. The characters are young, old, mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers. They all have their own conflict they are trying to work through. I was very drawn in to the story and the characters. Binchy’s unique style sets her apart from mainstream writers. I have liked every book I’ve read by her and I am looking forward to more. I highly recom ...more
Cheryl
Jul 06, 2013 Cheryl rated it really liked it
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.
Kelly
Mar 17, 2012 Kelly rated it liked it
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.
Sandra
Mar 13, 2009 Sandra rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ang
Jul 05, 2008 Ang rated it really liked it
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!
M
Sep 03, 2010 M rated it really liked it
Very interesting story of several Dubliners who enroll in an Italian evening class. Binchy has a marvelous way of tying their lives together. Everyone seems to be linked in some way. I followed the story eagerly, and was very satisfied with the outcome.
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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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