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The Lilac Bus
Cover of The Lilac Bus
The Lilac Bus
A Novel
Borrow Borrow
NATIONAL BESTSELLER • “Maeve Binchy is a grand storyteller in the finest Irish tradition."—The Plain Dealer

The Journey . . . Every Friday night a lilac-colored minibus leaves Dublin for the Irish country town of Rathdoon with seven weekend commuters on board. All of them, from the joking bank porter to the rich doctor’s daughter, have their reasons for making the journey.

The Destination . . . Rathdoon is the kind of Irish village where family histories are shared and scandals don’t stay secret for long. And this weekend, when the bus pulls in, the riders find the unexpected waiting for them . . . as each of their private lives unfolds to reveal a sharp betrayal of the heart, a young man’s crime, and a chance for new dreams among the eight intriguing men and women on . . . The Lilac Bus
NATIONAL BESTSELLER • “Maeve Binchy is a grand storyteller in the finest Irish tradition."—The Plain Dealer

The Journey . . . Every Friday night a lilac-colored minibus leaves Dublin for the Irish country town of Rathdoon with seven weekend commuters on board. All of them, from the joking bank porter to the rich doctor’s daughter, have their reasons for making the journey.

The Destination . . . Rathdoon is the kind of Irish village where family histories are shared and scandals don’t stay secret for long. And this weekend, when the bus pulls in, the riders find the unexpected waiting for them . . . as each of their private lives unfolds to reveal a sharp betrayal of the heart, a young man’s crime, and a chance for new dreams among the eight intriguing men and women on . . . The Lilac Bus
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  • Available:
    1
  • Library copies:
    1
Levels-
  • ATOS:
  • Lexile:
    800
  • Interest Level:
  • Text Difficulty:
    3 - 4

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Excerpts-
  • From the book Nancy

    Nancy was early, but then she always was, and she didn't like being seen there too soon. It looked as if you had nothing else to do if you arrived far too early for the bus home. The others all arrived rushing and panting and afraid they'd miss it, because if they missed it then they really did. Tom turned the key in the ignition at 6:45 and swung the Lilac Bus out into the road. That way he had them all home before ten o'clock and that was his promise. No point in going home for a weekend if you aren't in the pub by ten, that was his philosophy. It wasn't Nancy's, but she was compulsively early for everything. It was just her way. She went into a shop that sold magazines and cards. She knew a lot of the cards by heart from studying them on a Friday. There was the big one with tears falling down it: "Sorry I missed your birthday." They had the country papers in this shop, too, but Nancy never bought one. There'd be a paper at home and she could catch up on everything then.

    She examined her new perm in the big round mirror that was not meant so much as a mirror as a deterrent to shoplifting. It was set high on the wall and at a funny angle, or she hoped it was. Otherwise the perm looked very odd indeed. She stared up at her reflection anxiously. Surely she didn't look like some small worried animal with fuzzy hair and huge terrified eyes. That's what she saw in the mirror, but of course that's not what people down at her own level would see? After all, everyone looked silly from this point of view. She patted her head and had another pang about the perm. It looked to her dangerously like those old-fashioned perms that people like her mother got in Rathdoon. The summer perm and the Christmas perm. Frizz, fuzz . . . tight curls growing out into what looked like flashes of lightning or electric shocks as the weeks went by. The girls in the salon assured her that she was mad to think this. She had got a modern perm, one of the newest on the market. Think what she'd have paid if she had to pay for it! Nancy had smiled grimly. Paid for it! At that price! Nancy Morris wouldn't have paid half that price or a quarter of that price for a perm. Nancy Morris had crossed Dublin to go to a salon where she heard they needed people to practice on. Models was the expression, but Nancy was more realistic. They needed heads with hair and smart people like Nancy found out which were the big salons with lots of trainees and on what nights their classes and demonstrations were. She had only paid for two visits to a hairdresser since she came to Dublin six years ago. That wasn't bad going, she smiled proudly. Still, it was done now, this perm, no point in peering up at herself and worrying. Better go across and get on the bus. Surely some of the others would be there by now, and it was well after half-past six.

    Tom was sitting there reading an evening paper. He looked up and smiled. "Evening, Miss Mouse," he said pleasantly, and lifted her big suitcase up onto the roof rack with one easy movement. She got in crossly. She hated him calling her Miss Mouse, but it was her own fault. When she had rung to ask for a place in his minibus she had given her name as Miss Morris. Well, she was used to being formal on the phone—that was what her job was about, for heaven's sake. How was she to know that she should have said her first name and that he genuinely misheard the Morris bit. But it was very galling that he still refused to call her Nancy, even though he always called old Mrs. Hickey Judy and she could have been his mother.

    "It's light for such a big case," he said pleasantly. Nancy just nodded. She didn't feel like...
About the Author-
  • Maeve Binchy was born and educated in Dublin. She is the bestselling author of The Return Journey, Evening Class, This Year It Will Be Different, and The Glass Lakes. She has written two plays and a teleplay that won three awards at the Prague Film Festival. She has been writing for The Irish Times since 1969 and lives with her husband, writer and broadcaster Gordon Snell, in Dublin.
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    September 30, 1991
    In the first eight interrelated stories of the dozen that comprise her new collection, Binchy ( Circle of Friends ) introduces eight people who travel on a lilac-colored bus from Dublin every Friday night to spend the weekend in their hometown, Rathdoon. Each of the seven passengers and the bus driver is the protagonist of an individual story; taken together, the tales have the cohesion of a novelette. Though these people have known one another for years, they are totally unaware of the compulsions, anxieties, heartaches and dreams of their fellow travelers. As is gradually revealed, everyone on the bus has a secret; thus the stories have the pull of taffy: having finished one, the reader is hooked on discovering the essence of yet another protagonist's existence. Each story delivers a kick of surprise--and often more than one--as Binchy peels back the layers of her characters' lives with empathy, compassion and not a little humor. In the process, the tales coalesce to portray the social order of Rathdoon. The last four stories are set in Dublin, with a new, equally engrossing cast. Although the pieces differ widely in social setting and circumstance, each features a woman who learns the strength of her mettle through adversity. This gallery of memorable characters again confirms Binchy as a beguiling raconteur. BOMC featured selection.

  • The New York Times Book Review. "A remarkably gifted writer... a wonderful student of human nature."
  • The Cleveland Plain Dealer "Maeve Binchy is a grand storyteller in the finest Irish tradition of Frank O'Commortr, Sean O'Faolain, and Edna O'Brien... She writes from the heart."
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    Random House Publishing Group
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A Novel
Maeve Binchy
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