My favourite Maeve:
This Year It Will Be Different

Patrick Gallagher, Maeve’s Australian publisher for many years, has chosen one of the short stories as his favourite.

Every publisher knows that one of the hardest tasks is picking your favourite book or story by one of your authors. It’s all the harder with an author who has written so many and such gloriously human stories. The wonderful collection of Maeve’s writing we published in Australia is especially full of heart-warming characters and emotional events, dealing as it does with the themes of Christmas and returning home. How to pick a favourite?

This Year It Will Be Different by Maeve BinchyI realised though that the question is easier than I thought, because one particular story has established itself in a kind of reality for me. Like many of my generation with ageing parents the world of old people’s homes has become all too familiar, and when I first read How about You? I thought “if only…”.  There were a couple of retirement villages near where we lived at the time I first read the story, and they somehow transformed in my mind to Woodlands and Santa Rosa. I drive past occasionally and I can easily imagine the drama playing out that Maeve so poignantly constructed in a few pages.  Donald would be at the piano,  Georgia knocking back a martini, the sisters scurrying around, Ellie marvelling at her guests’ change of heart – and Dan driving away after getting his comeuppance.

In a few pages How about You? captures all the pain and all the joy of unlikely characters thrown unwillingly together, and then realising they are all part of the human race. One short story telling us more than many a lengthy novel!


Patrick Gallagher
Maeve’s Australian Publisher