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It is with sadness that we share the news that Irish author Maeve Binchy has passed away. The author of 16 novels, she may be best known stateside for penning Circle of Friends, the novel on which the 1995 feature film was based. From what's being reported, it sounds like the cause of death for the 72-year-old writer was related in some way to a brief illness.
Entertainment Weekly shared the unfortunate news, stating that - according to someone at The Irish Times, Binchy's former employer - the author passed away in a hospital, with her husband Gordon Snell by her side. From what's posted on her website, it sounds like her health had been preventing her from traveling.
My health isn't so good these days and I can't travel around to meet people the way I used to. But I'm always delighted to hear from readers, even if it takes me a while to reply. So I hope all my American readers enjoy the new book.
I haven't read Binchy's most recent book (Minding Frankie), but I did read Circle of Friends and Tara Road years ago and liked them both. Circle of Friends was made into a film starring Chris O'Donnell and Minnie Driver. And Tara Road, which made Oprah's Book Club, also received the feature film treatment in 2005, with Olivia Williams and Andie MacDowell playing the leads. The former novel followed a college student, while the latter focused on an Irish woman and her eventual marriage struggles, which led her to switch homes with an American woman. It's been years since I read either novel, but I feel certain they left an impression on me, with a similar underlying messages about things not necessarily working out the way we hope or plan, but that's sometimes it's for the best.
Given her popularity as a novelist, I'm sure i'm not the only person to find inspiration in her stories. Her passing is certainly sad news, but she leaves behind numerous novels and other published works, and she won't soon be forgotten be forgotten by those who have appreciated them. Our thoughts go out to her friends and family in their time of loss.