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, once an architect, is forgetful and set in his ways. Stella is tired of his lifestyle, worried about their marriage, and angry at his constant undermining of her religious faith. Things are not helped by memories that have begun to resurface of a troubled time in their native Ireland. 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....
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Midwinter Break Reviews
Gerry and Stella. They are an old married couple. Well, pensioners anyhow. They are Irish but then there was an incident and now they live in Glasgow. She was a teacher; he an architect. He is an alcoholic; she is devout. There is a fissure in their marriage. This is a story about a trip they take to Amsterdam. There will be flashbacks, teasingly and piecemeal, about the incident. We follow them, together and alone, among the Dutch, and it is ours to wonder if they will still be together at jour ...more
Follow Gerry and Stella Gilmore as they go on a short break away to Amsterdam.
I found Midwinter Break a refreshing change from your average run-of-the-mill mix of novels. It is a love story but not with young, vibrant, enthusiastic twenty year olds. Gerry and Stella are a retired couple who have been married for many, many years. I thought Bernard described the dynamics of having been married together for a very long time spot on. I really engaged with Gerry and Stella, it was all those little t ...more
This is a beautifully written story of a middle-aged couple who are at the point of their lives where they are wondering what is next. They are examining if this is all there is. The writing is beautiful and the depiction of marriage in the little shared intimacies people share in long relationships. I was so touched that he took her hand stepping off curbs and kissed in elevators.
Both people are coping with their own crutches. Sheila's is religion and Gerry's is "secret" drinking. Bo ...more
Threescore Years and Then . . . ?
And did you get whatThis poem, "Late Fragment" by Raymond Carver, is just about the last thing he ever wrote. Bernard MacLaverty quotes it near the end of his beautiful novel, and it distills the essence of the entire book. But it comes at a moment of despair; any transcendence is hard won and must be taken partly on faith. The spiritual ar ...more
you wanted from this life, even so?
And what did you want?
To call myself beloved, to feel myself
beloved on the earth.
"There are important questions to be answered. How can we best live our lives? How can we live good lives"?(90)
Stella is the victim of a life changing event. She continues to contemplate the meaning of life in the light of her unfortunate experience, and is no nearer to finding any answers as the book closes.
Midwinter Break leaves this reader with a similar feeling that the huge cracks in the marriage of Stella and Gerry are unresolvable.
This is such an Irish book. The main events affecting the ...more
The family is raised, the work’s done. That can’t be it, can it? There’s ten or twenty years left over, as it were. We’ve cut the life of our cloth wrongly. It doesn’t fit …. I have a sense of drift. I want to do something with the time I have left. Other than watch you drink
This book is the story of a midwinter break taken in Amsterdam by a retired couple Gerry and Stella – Gerry and Stella are a Northern Irish Catholic Couple now living in Glasgow.
The title however also conveyed to me the es ...more
This love story about a retired couple is full of paradox. It appears quite light but it is surprisingly deep. It seems quite ordinary but its impact is extraordinary. It is funny and serious, a sad book and a happy book at the same time. A book mainly about Him yet predominantly about Her. A book about a shared life that is not really shared at all.
I figured near the beginning that this Him & Her story wouldn't suit me. I wasn't interested in knowing that She says her prayers every night be ...more
“Midwinter Break” is a quiet, beautiful novel about empty nesters that take a long weekend holiday. Author Bernard MacLaverty writes restrained yet intimate prose allowing the reader to be part of the holiday.
Gerry and Stella Gilmore set off from their home in Scotland to travel to Amsterdam. Although told in third person, the writing is such that it’s a personal experience. The reader feels each characters experience and is akin to a fly on the wall. It is proven that both Gerry and Stella have ...more