Friday, May 16, 2014

Mr. Lynch's Holiday; Catherine O'Flynn

Mr. Lynch's Holiday; Catherine O'Flynn
Henry Holt - 2013

Dermot Lynch is a retired bus driver from Birmingham, England whose wife Katherine has recently passed away. He has cleared out all of her belongings and decides to visit his only child, an estranged son, Eamonn, and his girlfriend, Laura in Spain. The two emigrated there with high expectations for an ideal life, with Eamonn hoping to write a book.

Eamonn and Laura purchased a home in a planned development in Lomaverde, by the sea, but life there is not as they imagined. The development is only half completed and the project has now been abandoned by developers. It's almost like a small ghost town, except for the few families who are stuck there and can't sell. To make matters worst, Eamonn can't stand his pretentious neighbors. The feral cat colonies have taken up residence around the empty community swimming pool, and the area has been burglarized on a regular basis as well.

When Dermot first arrives at his son's place he is rather shocked by how dirty and sparsely furnished the place is. Eamonn tells his father that Laura is away on a business trip, but later admits that she has left him and returned to England. Eamonn, who is in his 30s is a mess. He's depressed, sleeps until noon, not working or writing that book, and basically his wasting his life away.  Deep down he wants to leave Spain behind and return to England, the only place he knew but is afraid to do so.  Meanwhile, Dermot, tries to engage his son, by having him join him on "holiday" getting more familiar with the area and meeting people, determined to help his son get on with his life.

The story is told alternating viewpoints by father and son which works really well.  It's a story where nothing earth shattering happens, but it's the quiet and sometimes subtle conversations that make this story work so well as the reader learns what each man is thinking and feeling. Dermot was an awesome character, an observant and reflective man, who understands what his son needs. Often comical, other times tender it's one of those quieter novels that managed to linger with me after turning the final page.

Dermot, provided lot's of good food for thought throughout the novel, but the statement that made the most impact for me was this one -- it just rang true ---

“I think sometimes you lose people and you barely know it at the time,” Dermot says. “It starts as a small crack. That’s all it is. It takes years, a lifetime, before you notice what went out through the crack. How much you lost.” 
 
Read it - 5/5 stars
(review copy) 

19 comments:

  1. I like the last statement too.

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  2. This sounds very good actually. How can one resist a story with all those Irish names? The Irish have the best names, I think!

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  3. This really interested me when you posted the intro a few weeks ago. Now I'm adding it to my wish list. Excellent quote!

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  4. I may have to consider this one. I really didn't care for What Was Lost, but I think it was largely because of its subject matter.

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  5. Wonderful review Diane! I'm glad you enjoyed it. Great quote!

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  6. I would give it the same amount of stars! It has been almost five months since I read it, and images from the book still pop up in my head. I can 'see' that development and almost feel the air. I found the ending so refreshing, and actually quite rare in a modern book. Thank you for giving it such a nice review. I hope it draws lots of people to the book.

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  7. Terrific review, Diane. This book sounds so good!

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  8. 5 Stars is darn impressive!

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  9. I really loved this one as well. It was so quiet and lovely. Reminded me a lot of Harold Fry, actually. In tone, I mean.

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  10. This sounds thoughtful and absorbing, Diane. Wonderful review!

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  11. I like that the book is told in the voices of father and son.

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  12. This book sounds interesting - I might give this a try!

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  13. Sounds like a good one, Diane. Nice review.

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  14. You've sold me on this one. It definintely seems like a different read for me, but since you loved it so much it must be good :)

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  15. This sounds terrific. It's going on my list.

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  16. Ooo, I hadn't heard of this book before but you've made it sound like something I might really enjoy! It seems like a really original storyline! Great review!

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  17. This sounds really good, I will add it to my list. My reading habits have changed so much since last fall (due to an extreme family situation that I won't blog about), I wonder this this could be a book with grit that I can enjoy.

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  18. Sounds like a book I would enjoy, though a movie version would probably capture my attention a bit more.

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