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EVENING GLASS by Maeve Binchy

EVENING GLASS

By Maeve Binchy

Pub Date: March 1st, 1997
ISBN: 0-385-31807-3
Publisher: Delacorte

 Binchy (The Copper Beech, 1992, etc.) once again nets a flock of middle- and lower-middle worriers, loners, and groaners, all brooding on their peculiar miseries, until an updraft of love or happy coincidences sets them free. Here, the transforming agent is an evening class in Italian taking place in a barracks-like school in a run-down Irish neighborhood. Heading the list of the forlorn is 48-year-old Aidan, a teacher of Latin who dreams of Italy. His marriage is loveless, his daughters distant, and he is being bumped as a candidate for a principal's position by a heavy-drinking rouÇ. Then there's Nora O'Donoghue, now 50. In a remote Sicilian village, Nora had been for years a backstreet love of the man she followed to Italy--a man who'd been forced to marry another. When he was killed in an accident, she returned to Ireland and eventually, as ``Signora,'' came to teach in the evening school that Aidan now hopes to make into a success. He does, and blighted lives begin to bloom. The Signora tutors a young failure who begins to percolate in school. The boy's sister is in love with a lad who does lucrative jobs for a crime syndicate; Signora sees that the crooked becomes straight. Among other classmates whose lives become bright and new: a bank clerk who, saddled with a dippy fianceÇ and a retarded sister, discovers the worth of being needed; an earnest young girl who learns the truth about her sacrificing sister and meets her father; and a childlike hotel porter whose innocence brings some pleasant surprises. At the close, all the classmates, as well as Aidan and Signora, take a viaggio to Italy, and there's love all around, with only a brace of female meanies left in the cold. Satisfying as any happy-dust tale in which joyful conclusions are foreordained. A Binchy shoo-in. (First serial to Good Housekeeping; Literary Guild main selection; TV satellite tour)