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Evening Class

3.95 of 5 stars 3.95  ·  rating details  ·  27,645 ratings  ·  693 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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Best Books By Maeve Binchy
7th out of 23 books — 113 voters
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Best Fiction Set in Ireland
15th out of 301 books — 253 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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deliabookworm
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.
Prillia
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
Christine
May 30, 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
Suzanne
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
Maureen Mullis
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
Loralee
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
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
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
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
'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
Vicky
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
Alison C
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
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
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Cathy
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Ang
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!
Shannon
Maeve Binchy is one of my mother's favorite authors so she's been on my list of authors to check out for quite a while. I was in the mood for a nice cozy rainy day book, so I picked up my copy of "Evening Class" and dove in. I didn't even read the jacket flap before beginning so I didn't have any idea what the book was about (other than, obviously, in some way featuring an evening class).

This novel tells the story of a group of Irish people of various backgrounds who meet one another in an even
...more
Marti
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
Very fun read! Brought together two of my favorite places, Italy & Ireland. I now want to go learn Italian in some obscure night class:)
Ruth
If it had not been that this book had been set as required reading in my new job as an ESL instructor, I doubt I would have ever read any Binchy. And although I enjoyed the book and even read another one of hers (granted, I was stuck in an airport for hours with no other choice and couldn't tell you now what it was), I will probably never read another. It is just too cheerful. Ugh! Almost all problems work out and even those that don't, well, it is all for the best. How nice...

The other require
...more
Fran
Maeve Binchy's books are very good if you are looking for an escape. They are all good feel stories.
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Maeve Binchy character connections 6 127 Jun 06, 2013 10:51AM  
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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 travelli
...more
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