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A Faraway Smell of Lemon

3.66  ·  Rating details ·  1,925 ratings  ·  153 reviews
It is Christmas Eve. Binny has four hours to make Christmas happen and she couldn't feel less like wishing glad tidings of good will to all men – least of all to Oliver. It is raining, her house is falling apart, the streets are jammed with people and it is all Oliver's fault. Darting into a shop to escape a conversation, Binny finds herself in the sort of place she would ...more
Paperback, 64 pages
Published December 5th 2014 by Waterstones Exclusive (first published 2013)
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Average rating 3.66  · 
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 ·  1,925 ratings  ·  153 reviews


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Nat K
Dec 02, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017-books, xmas
It’s Christmas Eve, and Binny is not prepared. In fact, she wants to fast forward and skip Christmas this year all together.

”Binny did not purchase a Christmas tree or get out the box of decorations from the loft or fill the kitchen with mince pies and jars of pickle. It was all so futile. So lacking in meaning.”

Binny’s heart has been broken. Oliver, her dreamy “out of work” actor boyfriend has fallen for another and moved out. Binny is the type of person who doesn’t show her true feelings, and
...more
Cheri
Dec 22, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016, christmas

3.5 Stars
Phrynne
Jun 19, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't often read short stories just because they are short and I like my books long! However I do really like this author so gave this one a try. And I am very glad I did. Rachel Joyce manages to pack so much into so few pages. Her writing is so neat and controlled, no time is wasted on explanations and our understanding of the situation unfolds as the story progresses. It is a sweet but sad little story with a comforting ending. Very enjoyable. ...more
Ann
Dec 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I just finished reading PERFECT, a book which won't be available until January. Smitten with British author Rachel Joyce, I immediately downloaded her short e-story A FARAWAY SMELL OF LEMON to my Kindle.

It's a Christmas story that let's those who are not living the shiny holiday of expectations mourn and move on. I worried it might spoil my experience with PERFECT before I had a chance to review it but the writing was just as lovely and the story touching.

Immediately I added an earlier novel THE
...more
Stephanie Anze
Oct 31, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Its almost Christmas but Binny is far from being in a celebratory mood. Her life, like her house, is a mess. Personal matters have not gone according to plan. Quite the opposite actually, and now she is feeling rather lost. Binny walks into small shop and engages in a conversation with the clerk. It will be a conversation that will help her shift her perspective.

This brief story packs a lot of heart and a lovely sentiment. I came upon this work by chance. 'The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry'
...more
☼♄Jülie 

Sometimes you just need to stop, and smell the lemons...as well as the roses.

A thought provoking short story about love, loss and gratitude.

4★s
Marianne
Jul 29, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“We had once what we can never have again. So why, then, do we behave as if everything we have connected with, everything we have blessed with our loving, should be ours for keeps? It is enough to have tiptoed to that space beyond the skin, beyond our nerve endings, and to have glimpsed things that beforehand we only half knew”
A Faraway Smell of Lemons is a Christmas Short Story by actress, radio playwright and author, Rachel Joyce. It may be Christmas, but Binny’s life has fallen apart: the fau
...more
RitaSkeeter
Dec 06, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
Marketed as a Christmas story, I found Christmas to be incidental and that this tale could have been set at any time of year. What I liked about that was that it meant this story didn't fall into the sentimentality that plagues seasonal reads. It was an interesting idea - a woman stops and recoups following a crisis, finding herself again in every day tasks. I think the idea could have been further developed, even within the short story format, to make this a more satisfying read. Still, it wasn ...more
Teresa
Jun 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
We had once what we can never have again. So why, then, do we behave as if everything we have connected with, everything we have blessed with our loving, should be ours for keeps? It is enough to have tiptoed to that space beyond the skin, beyond our nerve endings, and to have glimpsed things that beforehand we only half knew.

A quirky short story about Christmas and grief. Very enjoyable, but I actually was thinking that it was a full lenght book when I picked it.

This author is new to me and
...more
Mikayla
Jan 21, 2015 rated it liked it
This was a pretty good read, though a bit to short and sweet. It doesn't take long to read and can be read on the way to work.
Lynn
Aug 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Full review at Smoke & Mirrors blog (http://books-n-music.blogspot.com/201...).

I mainly downloaded this from Kobo (Yes, there are options other than Amazon for books and ebooks!) and read it because our book club selected her book The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry to read and discuss for our January 2015 meeting. I thought this would be an easy way to try out her writing style to better prepare me for reading this book, and it was!

I really liked her style, very straightforward, yet revealing
...more
loretta
Feb 06, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
While waiting for the 'prequel' to Rachel Joyce's "the unlikely pilgrimage of Harold Frye", I purchased her short story," a faraway smell of lemon". What a delight! I'm not much into short stories but the author has managed to infuse this short read with depth and emotion that far longer novels often fail to achieve. Oliver has left Binnie and her 2 children for his pregnant new love. He seems rather oblivious to the pain he's caused but then, that seems to encapsulate Oliver's personality. Binn ...more
Richard
Dec 08, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
An enchanting short story from the talented pen of Rachel Joyce.
Sometimes circumstances mean you withdraw from life and take others for granted, barely register the passing of loved ones and the moving on of friends. In her busy life, while feeling sorry for herself Bin must prepare for Christmas without any joy or desire to celebrate. A brief encounter in a shop she dived in to avoid a nosey school mum she learns to re-engage her senses.
Wonderfully written this account moves you emotionally and
...more
Becky
Apr 24, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Short story full of heart. Rachel Joyce is a gifted writer. Binny has made some poor choices and has lessons to learn. It's Christmas Eve and her heart has been broken, she is stuck in her emotions and cannot function. As chance would have it, she meets someone who shows her how to get on with her life.
Elvan
Nov 27, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rachel Joyce packs so much into a few pages. Make this your first Christmas read. It's not the happiest story you will read this season, but there are lessons to be learned, even if those lessons involve cleaning products.
Kath Middleton
Sep 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love Rachel Joyce’s writing and wanted something short and light to read between novels. Binny is overwhelmed by life at Christmas. She hasn’t even got presents for the children. She enters a shop and faces her future. It’s a very short read which I enjoyed a lot – except I felt the ending was a little abrupt. It just sort of stopped. They say you should always leave the table feeling you could eat the same again, but I’d have liked to see Binny’s life even just a little way beyond the shop do ...more
Amy
Feb 23, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle-books, 2014
For such a short story, 'The Faraway Smell of Lemons' has a profound message and realism. Bad things happen, life wouldn't be what it is without the bad things as well as the good. Going through these bad times is never easy, but simple escapism - doing something as ordinary as polishing - can have such an emotional effect on us. Also, you're not alone with our troubles - everyone has secret problems or worries they don't talk about and we often get so consumed with our own lives we forget that. ...more
frannie pan
Dec 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A tinsy sad but at last hopeful short story, to remember of all the human beings in our life whom we care about and not to forget the importance of small things and gestures.

A few pages that held all this story could need, from flashed out characters to flashbacks and backgrounds and a generous sprinkle of sentiment.
Rachel Joyce, I think we will get along quite well!
Carey Nelson
Jan 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
I set a reminder for myself to read this around Christmas after finishing The Music Shop previously in the summer. A pleasant short story although I don't remember much about the resolution two weeks after the fact. I prefer to enjoy Ms. Joyce's characters by imagining that I am reading a British comedy.
John Pannell
Jun 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Short but beautiful story.

Sitting very late at night, unable to sleep, I chose to read this book. Far shorter than I realised it is still a lovely interlude in the life of Binny. I really enjoy Rachel Joyce's writing and I wish this story was the start of a book.
Dawn Michelle
The perfect way to end this year - you would have to read this to fully understand. And if you are a happy, well-rounded, never sad, glass half-full kind of person, this book is not for you.
Rachel
Mar 15, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a short story, packed full of emotion, just like Rachel Joyce's full length novels. I really must get round to reading more of her books.
Darrel Hofland
Jun 01, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As the day ends with this glorious sunset
This tiny book ends with me sipping on a glass of wine.
Life is beautiful.
Trish
Jun 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This short story told in third-person narrative is about a woman called Binny, left bereft with two small children following her break-up from her husband Oliver.

Set on Christmas Eve, although the setting is not absolute (Binny's situation could happen any time of year), it helps to convey the feeling of chaos and franticness but also one of sadness felt in Binny's life at that time.

For such a short story, the author manages to pack in a very descriptive and poignant plot, whilst maintaining t
...more
Decaf1
Aug 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A short story that packs a lot into 53 pages! The author manages to reduce the "Big Screen" "Big Life" pre-Christmas traumas of the protagonist into the size of a meaningful but tiny shiny baby christening cup. This is worth the read just to help you focus on what is truly meaningful in life and how your "BIG" problems really aren't so.
Steve Gillway
Dec 14, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: feel-good, feel-bad
A genuine other Christmas kind of book. Other in this case is when other things, not necessarily welcome things, happen.
Emma
Nov 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a brilliantly evocative short story and I enjoyed it immensely. I was surprised by how quickly I connected with the protagonist and felt her hopelessness. Very well done!
Ann Cooper
Jan 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A Small Gem

Unexpectedly moving, this short and deceptively simple tale of redemption will haunt me for a long, long time. Thank journeys.
Mark
Jun 11, 2017 rated it liked it
After a blistering start to the year of completing my target of 15 books in a year, after a 4 week break, this is, albeit, a short one, number 16. Onwards and upwards :-)
Sarah
Aug 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love a short story, although I confess I didn't realise this was one when I picked it up (on Kindle). A lovely story of hope.
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Rachel Joyce has written over 20 original afternoon plays for BBC Radio 4, and major adaptations for both the Classic Series, Woman's Hour and also a TV drama adaptation for BBC 2. In 2007 she won the Tinniswood Award for best radio play. She moved to writing after a twenty-year career in theatre and television, performing leading roles for the RSC, the Royal National Theatre, The Royal Court, and ...more

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“We had once what we can never have again. So why, then, do we behave as if everything we have connected with, everything we have blessed with our loving, should be ours for keeps? It is enough to have tiptoed to that space beyond the skin, beyond our nerve endings, and to have glimpsed things that beforehand we only half knew.” 2 likes
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