Evening Class: The very first book I read in English

Evening Class

Evening Class by Maeve Binchy: The Very First Book I read in English.

I remember making an attempt to read The Outsiders in the 80s and after several trips to my dictionary while reading the first page, I decided to give up. Years later, I made another attempt to read Misery or Insomnia —can’t remember—by Stephen King and that didn’t get me anywhere either. The truth is, my English wasn’t good enough at the time and it wasn’t going to be good enough until year 2000. It was only then did I manage to read a book in English. And that book was Evening Class by Maeve Binchy.

Evening Class was also the first book I had read by Maeve Binchy. A friend of mine recommended and lent it to me at the same time. Of course, I didn’t know that the author actually carried several characters from her books into other novels.

The Plot
Evening Class is story about a bunch of Dubliners who come together two evenings a week to study Italian and the culture of Italy. Each chapter in the book is narrated by a different character, revealing their backstories, secrets, hopes and dreams. And the story flows like you wouldn’t believe. I couldn’t put the book down although it was written in a foreighn language.

Maeve Binchy is, without a doubt, one of the best story-tellers of our time. Her characters are so alive and well developed. Her stories have layers, richness, depth and her style wraps you up like a warm blanket.

Years later, after I had read Evening Class, I read several of Maeve Binchy books like Nights of Rain and Stars, The Maeve Binchy Writers’ Club and Tara Road —the movie was a disappointment, don’t you think? But, Evening Class was my first love and will always be my favourite.

The Maeve Binchy Writers’ Club

The Maeve Binchy Writers' Club

The Maeve Binchy Writers’ Club

Maeve Binchy’s Evening Class was the first book I have ever read in English. I was so proud of myself for reading a big book in English and enjoying it, too. This one, however, is a guidebook on writing and it has been one of the most approachable ones for me. It is inspired by a course run by The National College of Ireland. The advice in it comes not only from Maeve Binchy herself but also from other writers, editors and publishers. Here’s the list of these experts: Marian Keyes, Alison Walsh, Norah Casey, Paula Campbell, Ivy Bannister, Seamus Hosey, Gerald Dawe, Jim Culleton, Ferdia McAnna and Julie Parsons.

The Maeve Binchy Writers’ Club is written with charm, humour and generosity. It warms your heart only Maeve Binchy can do. She basically shows us how authors write and covers topics from finding a subject and creating good writing habits to sustaining progress and seeking a publisher. It doesn’t matter if you want to write plays, short stories or mysteries, there is something in it for every one.

At the end of the book, there is an appendix full of suggested further reading, a selection of writing competitions and awards as well as websites and literary journals.

“The most important thing to realize is that everyone is capable of telling a story.” –Maeve Binchy