A Month in the Country - J.L. Carr
A Month in the Country
1980, 111 pages
Tom Birkin, a war veteran, looks back on a summer spent in a small village just after the First World War. In summer 1920 he had arrived by train in rainy Oxgodby, a village in the quiet northern English countryside. Although his initial encounter with some villagers was somewhat stand-offish, this quickly changed for the better. His reason for travelling to the village was to uncover and restore a huge medieval wall painting hidden beneath whitewash on the wall of the village church.
Tom was still visibly shaken by his wartime experiences and the painful break-up of his marriage. While in Oxgodby he befriended another veteran, Charles Moon, who was searching for a lost grave. Their shared past helped them to come to terms with the horrors of war, while the hospitality and warmth shown to Tom by some of the villagers left their mark on the rest of his life.
This slender novel is written in a slow, poetical style. It is a treasure of English literature and an ode to the English countryside. ‘A Month in the Country’ makes you yearn for times and customs long since gone.