PENGUIN READERS Teacher Support Programme
group, their lives are transformed as the story develops. All characters have problems and issues to resolve, and manage to do so by the end of the story, which culminates in a trip to Italy. Chapter 1: Aidan, a teacher at Moutainview School, is undergoing a difficult time. His wife, Nell, and his daughters, Grania and Brigid, are becoming distant. The position of Principal at school, which he expects to be offered, is given to Tony O’Brien, a popular teacher who spends his free time at parties and with younger woman. Without anyone knowing who the other party is, Grania and Tony have been going out. Tony informs Adain that he’s been given the job and organizes Italian evening classes under Aidan’s supervision. Garnia gets angry at Tony. Chapter 2: Nora O’Donoghue, a beautiful Irish young woman, meets Mario, an Italian, in London. They fall in love, but Mario goes back to Italy to marry Gabriella, as his family has arranged. Nora moves to his town, Annunziata – where she becomes known as Signora – just to be near him. After 26 years, Mario dies in a car accident, and his widow asks Nora to leave. She returns to Dublin and rents a room at the Sullivans’s house. She is a good influence for the family, and particularly for their son, Jimmy, who goes to Mountainview School. Tony O’Brian introduces her to Aidan, who also loves Italy. Chapter 3: Bill Burke works with Grania at a bank. His girlfriend, Lizzie, is a beautiful young girl interested in money and fun. Bill finds it difficult to make ends meet; he wants to help his family and tries to keep up to Lizzie’s expectations. An announcement of possible openings in the continent for young people at the bank who speak other languages leads him and Lizzie to the Italian classes. He borrows money from the bank, which he expects to pay back. When he learns that Lizzie’s mother left the family when she was a girl, he understands Lizzie better. Chapter 4: At the age of 15 Lou helps thieves that have robbed his father’s shop to escape from the police, so that they do not take revenge. Robin, one of the thieves, offers that Lou join them in some ‘jobs’. Lou occasionally works for them and makes good and easy money. Some time later, while working on the robbery of a nightclub, he meets Suzi Sullivan and they fall in love. The thieves need a place for boxes to come in and go out unnoticed, so Lou joins the Italian classes, where boxes are stored in a corner. Lou gives Suzi a very expensive ring and takes an expensive TV set to the Italian classes. Signora notices what is happening and Lou promises her he will change. Evening Class - Teacher’s notes of 3
About the author
Maeve Binchy was born on 28 March 1940 in Dalkey, a small village outside Dublin, Ireland. She spent her childhood in Dalkey and often draws on this experience when creating the rural villages which are usually at the centre of her novels. She took a BA degree in History at University College, Dublin. She became a teacher and taught in various girls’ schools. Her teaching post at a Jewish school, and subsequent holiday in Israel, inspired her to work on a kibbutz. While abroad, Binchy wrote weekly letters to her father, describing life in a country that was constantly on the brink of war. Her father sent one of her letters to The Irish Times, where it was published and earned her eighteen pounds. She soon became a popular columnist on The Irish Times and was woman’s editor during the early days of Irish feminism. She later moved to London, where she met and married Gordon Snell, a writer and broadcaster. Maeve Binchy wrote three volumes of short stories, two plays and a television play, which won three awards at the Prague Film Festival. Her first novel Light a Penny Candle was published in 1982. It was an immediate success and since then she has become one of Ireland’s best-known writers. Her best-selling novels...
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