The Return Journey
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The Return Journey

3.7 of 5 stars 3.70  ·  rating details  ·  3,852 ratings  ·  253 reviews
In this extraordinary collection of stories, the New York Times-bestselling author of Evening Class and This Year it Will Be Different once again reveals her incomparable understanding of matters of the heart. In The Return Journey, Maeve Binchy brings us sons and lovers, daughters and strangers, husbands and wives in their infinite variety--powerfully compelling stories o...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published May 29th 2007 by Dell (first published 1998)
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Circle of Friends by Maeve BinchyTara Road by Maeve BinchyScarlet Feather by Maeve BinchyThe Glass Lake by Maeve BinchyQuentins by Maeve Binchy
Best Books By Maeve Binchy
17th out of 23 books — 107 voters
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar WildeAngela's Ashes by Frank McCourtDubliners by James JoyceThe Collected Poems by W.B. YeatsDracula by Bram Stoker
Best Irish Literature
289th out of 376 books — 440 voters

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Community Reviews

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I have read a number of Maeve Binchy stories, both novels and short stories in collections. This was the first collection I had read of just her work. At first I was confused not realizing that these were not one cohesive story. I like seeing how characters develop over a longer period, not that some of these stories didn’t traverse months or more. The Return Journey walked the reader through the lives of many people sometimes their interaction was indirect and accidental, sometimes it involves...more
Normally I LOVE Maeve Binchy. I love the style she has of intertwining characters and stories, showing that the world is really a small place. I love her warm, friendly characters who all seem so real it makes you want to know them, to be friends with him, to be included in their circle. But this one was a disappointment. There was no intertwining of stories, no characters who at first seem random, but somehow become connected in some way later on. It is several small sections, each with its own...more
Stephanie Holcomb
Maeve Binchy can infuriate me sometimes. It's like she has a contract for 3 books, and the first is well thought out with an interesting story and characters you can relate to and sympathize with, unique in all aspects and with some twists and turns you don't expect. But maybe that first book takes a lot of time to write, so she contractually has to write 2 more, and they are hurriedly written with no core, characters and stories that are boring and really normal and nothing exciting, so when yo...more
Yvonne Mendez
Maeve Binchy is one of my favorite authors and continues to be. Normally her stories include many unique characters who are interrelated to each other. In this case, each chapter is an unique story, all of the stories have to do with vacations and in them you feel like you're getting a quick peek at people's lives. This book reminds me a lot of real life, you may meet someone and get to know their present and past, but you might never know what happened next and you move on. This is a light read...more
My mother is a huge Maeve Binchy fan and has read all of her books. Having decided to give her books a try after hearing my mother's glowing reviews, The Return Journey is the one I reached for. I found the writing quaint and charming, and the characters were realistic and relatable.

However, the only real issue I have is the same issue I have with all short story collections--I was left hanging, wondering what happened with the characters. I know lots of people like the ambiguity that comes wit...more
I've never read a Maeve Binchy before and plucked this one off the shelf in the downstairs loo of the holiday home I'm staying in. Bloody Nora, I really enjoyed it and I keep reading short stories and thinking, 'why don't I read more short story collections because I love them?'. I also think, 'ooh, I should have a go at writing some of these'.

One of the stories in it, which I won't spoil, was about a woman who was having an utter crisis in her life and a stranger suggested she write to him one...more
I love reading books such as this book, because its actually not a boring book as others. It has different interesting stories. I read a story called The Return Journey and it's about Freda who is from Ireland her father married her mother in Dunglass; it is a village but they had the biggest house there. Her father was a two man; one man sober and another man drunk. Freda’s mother name is Annabel, she was tall and straight and she walked as if she owned Dunglass. Freda was sent to a boarding sc...more
I actually have never read any of Maeve Binchy's books, though I see them all the time and think about picking one up, I never have. While I often find collections of short stories to be very hit or miss, I thought this would be a good way for me to familiarize myself with Binchy and decide if I wanted to pick up one of her novels. Sheri at A Novel Menagerie was offering free books and was kind enough to send this one to me.
In the end, I can't say I was too impressed, and I guess it goes back to...more
Barbara Mitchell
In all my hundreds of years of reading everything in sight, I had never read a Maeve Binchy. I know it's unbelievable but there you are. I had her in my mind, just never took the time.

Last week I was looking for a short read to fit in between books for promised reviews. My box of books from friends yielded The Return Journey by Maeve Binchy, a short paperback perfect for the amount of time I had. It turned out to be a little book of short stories, all related to travel in some way.

Short stories...more
I picked this up at the library last week because it looked like a quick, easy read; in that I was not disappointed. The writing is good and each character lends something interesting to the stories.
However, a lot of the writing is abstract, so I never really felt deeply drawn into the characters' lives. It was like a collection of character sketches, actually. I was interested enough to finish but will likely not buy the book. This is my first sample of Maeve Binchy's work, and I will say that...more
Sono racconti delicati di un'umanità che vive cercando di non farsi travolgere dagli eventi, sforzandosi di tenere assieme desideri e responsabilità. Una lettura non impegnativa, ma sicuramente gradevole e non scontata.
Il titolo originale è “Victoria Line, Central Line”, due linee della metropolitana londinese dalle cui fermate prendono vita i racconti, la traduzione in italiano "In viaggio verso casa" banalizza la struttura a incrocio del libro.

Stelline "racconto per racconto"

1.Tottenham Hale:...more
Was looking for an easy to read book. One that wouldn't tax my brain too much and this one called to me. It was a book of very, very short stories. I usually don't care too much for this kind of book, however, it was just the thing at this time. Most were very good and only involved a few characters, so my brain didn't have to work to keep track of everyone. They each could have been drawn out to make a complete book but instead they were short and too the point. All in all a good little read.
Hilary Tesh
This was not Maeve Binchy anywhere near her excellent best, unfortunately, and the result was a rather mediocre collection of short stories, hanging loosely round a theme of journeys and the changes they may bring. Most of the characters were flat and many of the stories seemed pointless, the exception being 'Miss Vogel's Vacation" which showed more of the author's talent. I only finished the book because I read a few stories at a time, in between full length books (in those moments when you can...more
Mary Anne
Maeve Binchy has long been one of my favorite authors. Collections of short stories are not my favorite genre. So I started reading this knowing that the short story format would probably not pull me in but hoping that the writing would keep me interested. Some of the stories were interesting, but mostly they were predictable and left me hanging. It was an okay read if you are looking for short bits to pick up and read and put down again without getting too involved.
Thoroughly enjoyable series of short stories dealing with the subtle humanness and often startling clarity to be found in relationships both familial and superficial. This was my first time reading Maeve Binchey, although I have seen the movie "Circle of Friends" adapted from one of her novels and starring Minnie Driver. Binchey has a remarkable way off cutting straight to the essence of understanding and the revelation of those hidden truths that reside between us all.
If it was a possibility to have no stars I would choose that for this book. This is shocking for me because I am an easy read. I am not a critic of books and I am a fan of Maeve.

This book starts with a prologue that is a series of letters from a Mother to her Daughter and back. I was intrigued and excited to find out more about this relationship in the rest of the book. Um, NO! I was also antsy to hear about the rest of the characters in the book. The biggest problem I had was every chapter is a...more
I realized part way through this book that I had read it before. It is a collection of short stories, well written and somewhat interesting. Not your usual in depth description of each eclectic character that Maeve does in her novels, but nonetheless you get a good feel for the character. Some characters are annoying and most have rather sad, boring lives. Not my favorite Binchy book but my love for her books remains loyal!
Noura Al-jabeli
It's books like these that make me remind myself to never pick a book in a hurry no matter how reputable the bookstore seems or how interesting the summary is.
I literally had a headache reading the back and forth letters between whiny whatshername and her characterless mother and the summary style of this book made me feel like the author just wanted to finish writing this book in a couple of hours.
This is a series of short stories, which start bad and get gradually worse. Some of them are twenty years old, which is startling when you've just read a contemporary story that was clearly thrown together in a day and a half. I can't even be bothered to summarise the stories, mainly because I've forgotten what happened in most of them. Pitiful.
The stories in this book, centered around people coming and going on journeys, were just what I needed for my summer reading. I was able to read a single story at a time and then set the book down and move on to something else. I liked the characters and the glimpses of their lives that these short stories gave.

"In this collection of stories, Maeve Binchy brings us sons and lovers, daughters and strangers, husbands and wives in their infinite variety - powerfully compelling stories of love, loss, revelation, and reconciliation. A secretary's silent passion for her boss meets the acid test on a business trip... A man and a woman's mutual disdain at first sight shows how deceptive appearances can be.... An insecure wife clings to the illusion of order, only to discover chaos at the hands of a hous...more
Sian Wadey
The Return Journey by Maeve Binchy

I wanted to read something romantic and soppy and light hearted so my Mum recommended this, but it wasn't exactly what I was hoping for. The writing is excellent, but some of the characters got on my nerves completely! Most of the women I wanted to shake and tell them to get a grip and to stop being so meek. All the women had dark curly hair as well, and several names crossed over from different stories which made it a bit confusing. There were a few gems in...more
Cara Kelly Merrill
These stories were "good," but they never really went anywhere. Some were simplistic in a good way, and some were so simplistic that I wondered why they were even in the anthology. Overall, a relatively enjoyable little book of stories...just not anything I was bowled over by.
This is my favorite collection of short stories by Maeve Binchy--the first book I read of hers during the 90's. I still love the one story about the suitcase swap; the daughter and mother letters from America and to Ireland; the love-story of the two that thought they were perfect together until they decided to take a trip and their means of packing and luggage ended up seperating them in the end; So many stories that rang true & I can still see them like yesterday. I read this book in 1998....more
A collection of short stories about people who meet by chance on journeys. It was rather amusing and somewhat entertaining, but it's more the type of book I'd recommend for the night stand in a guest room.
Panthère Rousse
Présentation de l'éditeur
Lors d'un voyage initiatique en Irlande sur les traces d'un passé occulté par sa mère, Gina pressent qu'elle va devoir lutter contre le poids de l'hérédité. Annie et Allan ne se connaissent pas encore, mais ils vont devoir se battre pour retrouver leurs valises échangées par erreur dans un aéroport londonien... Jeunes filles en pleurs, maîtresses de maison débordées et sans joie, banlieusards exténués, des personnages bigarrés se croisent dans ces Histoires de rencontres...more
Lynn Grundset
This book was just as engaging as all the other Maeve Binchy books that I've read. I enjoyed listening to this one, my first audio book by this author, because it is a collection of short stories. I could almost listen to an entire story on my way to work. not only are these stories entertaining, they are very insightful and though provoking. I also enjoyed the narrator, Ms. Fionnula Flanagan. It didn't seem like someone reading but rather telling a story. Ms. Flanagan won an Emmy for her role i...more
Mar 27, 2009 JayeL rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2009
One of the things I like about Maeve Binchy is her quirkiness. In her novels, she usually has time to work the quirkiness out so readers are not left with a strange feeling of incompleteness. I enjoyed this collection of short stories, but found that the quirkiness kind of overwhelmed the story. In their own way, the stories were spare, but the spareness combined with the quirkiness left me feeling a bit odd. I enjoyed the short stories, because they are different and I was so relieved to get ou...more
This is a short story collection. Each story was interesting, and Binchy was a good short-story author, but I think her great strength is in the novels whether she weaves a community story or from a single perspective. It was a light read, nothing too heavy, and most of it left you with good thoughts of humanity. I think the book would have ended stronger with a different final story. It was a nice enough read, but I have enjoyed her other works much more than this one.
Vanessa Braganza
Sketches of the hidden loves and heartaches in the lives of ordinary people, written with Chekhovian simplicity. Binchy's stories need no gimmicks to be beautiful.
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  • Starting Over
  • The Carousel
  • Irish Girls Are Back in Town
  • The Chisellers
  • Finbar's Hotel
  • Never Too Late
  • The Tea House on Mulberry Street
  • Up Island
  • Homecoming
  • O Come Ye Back to Ireland: Our First Year in County Clare
  • Whoredom In Kimmage: The Private Lives of Irish Women
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. Despite the fact she describes herself as an overweight child it was her parents attitude that gave her the confidence to accept herself for who she is today.

She studied at University College Dublin and was a teacher for a while....more
More about Maeve Binchy...
Tara Road Circle of Friends Evening Class Scarlet Feather A Week in Winter

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