This is an anthology, a collection of short stories, some that were first published in various newspapers and magazines.
This book is all about journeys, travels, airports, etc. The Return Journey is just the title of the first story. Not all the stories are well written, but Maeve Binchy does have a talent of binging out the triviality of simple happenings which may touch a raw nerve with the readers. You’ll never know – any incidence that had occured to you may wind up one of her story.
Just like the case The Wrong Suitcase. A couple on the same flight took each other case. Why isn’t it locked? Annie is the other woman and her lover had just broken off with her. Her diary is in the luggage. Would he read it? In Alan’s case, there were company dossiers which painted him as a businessman plotting against his employers as he wants to take over the agency. When they finally met to return the case, they knew their secrets were already read by the other party.
Another of my favourite is entitled Excitement. Rose is a teacher with two kids that is bored with life. She is bored with her friends, whom she organizes pot luck every Sunday, bored withher kids, bored with her marriage and mostly bored because everything and evryone around her is so predictable. When a friend’s husband started flirting with her and suggesting that they meet at a hotel, she agreed. The hilarity of the story came when they met people they knew at the hotel and have to try all ways to explain their situation. She ended up her unsuccessful fling by hoping to have a fairly even-tempered and unexciting period of her life.
Other stories show the readers, who, like the characters, think they know themselves very well, until something unexpected happens to them. First impressions are not what they seem, well planned holiday takes a chaotic turn and people who connect with strangers while on a journey.
This is a good book to read if one is travelling – makes you take another look at the other travellers around you.