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A Month in the Country

A Month in the Country

by J. L. Carr, introduction by Michael Holroyd

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In J. L. Carr's deeply charged poetic novel, Tom Birkin, a veteran of the Great War and a broken marriage, arrives in the remote Yorkshire village of Oxgodby where he is to restore a recently discovered medieval mural in the local church. Living in the bell tower, surrounded by the resplendent countryside of high summer, and laboring each day to uncover an anonymous painter's depiction of the apocalypse, Birkin finds that he himself has been restored to a new, and hopeful, attachment to life. But summer ends, and with the work done, Birkin must leave. Now, long after, as he reflects on the passage of time and the power of art, he finds in his memories some consolation for all that has been J. L. Carr, introduction by Michael Holroyd

Additional Book Information

Series: NYRB Classics
ISBN: 9780940322479
Pages: 160
Publication Date:


Unlike anything else in modern English Literature.
The Spectator

Carr's blessedly small tale of lost love is also a small hymn about art and the compensating joy of the artist, both in giving and receiving. It stays with us, too, and is oddly haunting.
The New Yorker

It's perfect, and sometimes I think I'll spend the rest of my life wondering how it's done.
—Sarah Perry, The Times Literary Supplement

Amazingly beautiful: so perfect, so exquisite! …The nuance and small moments that make up this gorgeous little novella are breathtaking, and the quiet, spare story will completely invade you. Brilliant!
—Dianah H, Powell’s City of Books blog

Carr has the magic touch to re-enter the imagined past.
— Penelope Fitzgerald

The work is virtually perfect, and written with a great deal of liveliness and wit.
—Michael Wood

A unique and special experience, a visit to a special time and place, deeply observed and portrayed in beautiful prose.
The Washington Post

Carr's prose is spare, elegant and buoyed with wit; the idyllic countryside and its inhabitants are rendered in affectionate detail.
Publisher's Weekly

A Month in the one of those perfect, precious novels that you want to loan to friends, buy all your relatives for Christmas and give to your latest paramour.
— Eve Claxton, Time Out New York

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