Midwinter Break

The reality of Winter in Scotland has been brought home in these early days of March 2018. Perhaps at home with a few hours to kill between blizzards, you could enjoy an appropriate piece of fiction by Bernard MacLaverty. This is Midwinter Break, and the summary is as follows.


A retired couple, Gerry and Stella Gilmore, fly from their home in Scotland to Amsterdam for a long weekend – a holiday to refresh the senses, to do some sightseeing, and generally to take stock of what remains of their lives. Their relationship seems safe, easy, familiar. But over the course of the four days we discover the deep uncertainties that exist between them.


Gerry, a retired architect, is forgetful and set in his ways. He drinks too much and is given to making punning quips as a means of remaining emotionally disengaged from his life. Stella is tired of his lifestyle, worried about their marriage, and angry at his constant undermining of her religious faith. As a retired teacher and practicing Catholic she is searching for a more devout life. With her remaining years, she wants to ‘make a contribution, however small’. The problem is that she’s not sure whether Gerry will be a part of her plans. Things are not helped by memories that have begun to resurface of a troubled time in their native Ulster. As their midwinter break comes to an end, we understand how far apart they are – and can only watch as they struggle to save themselves.


MacLaverty’s writing is impeccable and intimate, whilst his understanding of emotional life is deep.  As an exploration of midwinter lives, this tale will hold your attention until the storm blows over. Check if this excellent new piece of fiction is in stock at your local library by consulting the online catalogue at https://www.sllclibrary.co.uk/cgi-bin/spydus.exe/MSGTRN/OPAC/BSEARCH



256 pages in Jonathan Cape

First published 2017

ISBN  978-1911214212


Bernard MacLaverty

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