Historical Fiction

Books like A Month in the Country

A Month in the Country

2000, J.L. Carr


A Month in the Country is the fifth novel by J. L. Carr, first published in 1980 and nominated for the Booker Prize. The book won the Guardian Fiction Prize in 1980.

The plot concerns Tom Birkin, a World War I veteran employed to uncover a mural in a village church that was thought to exist under coats of whitewash. At the same time another veteran is employed to look for a grave beyond the churchyard walls. Though Birkin is an unbeliever, there is prevalent religious symbolism throughout the book, mainly dealing with judgment. The novel explores themes of England's loss of spirituality after the war, and of happiness, melancholy, and nostalgia as Birkin recalls the summer uncovering the mural, when he healed from his wartime experiences and a broken marriage. In an essay for Open Letters Monthly, Ingrid Norton praised the novel's subtlety:

Similar Books

If you like A Month in the Country, you might also like: Small Island, Tenth of December, and Wolf Hall