Midwinter Break by Bernard MacLaverty

Midwinter Break

A retired couple, Gerry and Stella Gilmore, fly from their home in Scotland to Amsterdam for a long weekend - a holiday to refresh the senses, to do some sightseeing, and generally to take stock of what remains of their lives. Their relationship seems safe, easy, familiar. But over the course of the four days we discover the deep uncertainties that exist between them. Gerry, once an architect, is forgetful and set in his ways. Stella is tired of ...

Details Midwinter Break

TitleMidwinter Break
Release DateAug 22nd, 2017
PublisherJonathan Cape
GenreFiction, Cultural, Ireland, Literary Fiction, Contemporary

Reviews Midwinter Break

  • Paromjit
    This is a profoundly moving and perceptive examination of the anatomy of a long marriage. Gerry and Stella Gilmore are retired, now living in Scotland, and facing the midwinter of their lives and their marriage. Gerry, once an architect, a mediocre one in his estimation, cannot get through a day without his drinking but his love for his wife is plain to see. Stella was a teacher, but her son and grandson live in Canada, leaving her feeling she ne...
  • Elyse
    Bernard MacLaverty is an Irish author - new to me. His writing is impeccable and intimate. He paints a clear portrait of a retired middle age married couple.However, although I appreciate the authors understanding of this relationship - which we observed up close and personal - I didn't actually enjoy the plot or the themes in this novel. My own personal beliefs are so very different from both Stella and Gerry - I didn't have much empathy for the...
  • Maureen
    Irish born Stella and Gerry are at a crossroads in their lives. Approaching their late sixties, they no longer share common interests - Gerry has his drinking, whilst Stella has her religion, a faith which has never deserted her, even at the lowest point in her life. They may not share common interests, but they still share intimacies that come from a long marriage, from knowing a person as well as you know yourself - the way Gerry still takes St...
  • Diane S ☔
    Stella and Gerry, married for forty years, in the retirement years of their life, one son, one grandson. They take a weekend trip, leaving Scotland, and heading to Amsterdam. Gerry thinks it is just for time away, change of pace, but Stella has other motives, a discontent in her life and a spiritual promise made during a time of heartbreaking distress. Gerry drinks too much, is often dismissive of her faith, and Stella wants there to be something...
  • Saleh MoonWalker
    Onvan : Midwinter Break - Nevisande : Bernard MacLaverty - ISBN : 1911214217 - ISBN13 : 9781911214212 - Dar 242 Safhe - Saal e Chap : 2017
  • Karen
    MIDWINTER BREAK BY BERNARD MACLAVERTYSpoiler Alert--You may not want to continue reading this review before you read the book.This is a story written with compassion and love. It is about a married retired couple named Gerry and Stella. There is a lot of peace and tranquility in terms of the way Bernard Maclaverty has written this lovely novel. The two main character's Gerry and Stella are from Ireland who now live in Scotland. Gerry used to be a...
  • Dianne
    This is the story of Gerry and Stella, in their early sixties, off on a 4-day holiday to Amsterdam. They are at pivotal moment in their lives and their marriage. Gerry is an alchoholic and Stella is fed up and looking to lead a more purposeful and spiritual life.This was well-written but it really dragged for me, especially toward the end. I don't know how Gerry and Stella felt, but this seemed like the longest vacation in history. Too much blah ...
  • Stephen Clynes
    Follow Gerry and Stella Gilmore as they go on a short break away to Amsterdam.I found Midwinter Break a refreshing change from your average run-of-the-mill mix of novels. It is a love story but not with young, vibrant, enthusiastic twenty year olds. Gerry and Stella are a retired couple who have been married for many, many years. I thought Bernard described the dynamics of having been married together for a very long time spot on. I really engage...
  • Susan Johnson
    3.5 stars This is a beautifully written story of a middle-aged couple who are at the point of their lives where they are wondering what is next. They are examining if this is all there is. The writing is beautiful and the depiction of marriage in the little shared intimacies people share in long relationships. I was so touched that he took her hand stepping off curbs and kissed in elevators. Both people are coping with their own crutches. Sheila'...
  • Sue
    How emotionally draining this book turned out to be. It touched me on levels I hadn’t even considered before, perhaps because I am fast approaching the age of Gerry and Stella, and have also been married ‘for a protracted period’.It’s a fact, people change over time. They develop new interests or existing ones come more to the fore and might not be shared with a long-term partner. Personality foibles that seem charming and perfectly toler...
  • Rebecca Foster
    In MacLaverty’s quietly beautiful fifth novel, a retired couple faces up to past trauma and present incompatibility during a short vacation in Amsterdam. The limited time span and settings – the couple’s home in Glasgow plus various locations in Amsterdam, mostly interiors – are qualities that would lend themselves well to a film or theater adaptation. The author’s determination to follow these characters through all the wearisome tasks...
  • Bettie☯
    BABTListen here :O)Description: A retired couple, Gerry and Stella Gilmore, fly from their home in Scotland to Amsterdam for a long weekend. A holiday to refresh the senses, to do some sightseeing and generally to take stock of what remains of their lives. Their relationship seems safe, easy, familiar – but over the course of the four days we discover the deep uncertainties which exist between them.Gerry, once an architect, is forgetful and set...
  • Tooter
    2.5 Stars rounded down. This book really dragged for me....not enough to DNF it but enough to keep hoping it would end soon so I could start another book.
  • Barbara
    “Midwinter Break” is a quiet, beautiful novel about empty nesters that take a long weekend holiday. Author Bernard MacLaverty writes restrained yet intimate prose allowing the reader to be part of the holiday.Gerry and Stella Gilmore set off from their home in Scotland to travel to Amsterdam. Although told in third person, the writing is such that it’s a personal experience. The reader feels each characters experience and is akin to a fly o...
  • Barbara
    Mac Laverty is a writer of gorgeous prose, and deeply thoughtful novels. His latest novel strengthens his reputation as an exceptional writer. Stella and Gerry are a retired couple in their 70’s. Mac Laverty spreads details about their lives throughout the book rather than giving them to the reader upfront. They now live in Glasgow and have been there for several decades. Stella grew up in a large Catholic family in rural Northern Ireland and w...
  • Gumble's Yard
    The family is raised, the work’s done. That can’t be it, can it? There’s ten or twenty yeas left over, as it were. We’ve cut the life of our cloth wrongly. It doesn’t fit …. I have a sense of drift. I want to do something with the time I have left. Other than watch you drink This book is the story of a midwinter break taken in Amsterdam by a retired couple Gerry and Stella – Gerry and Stella are a Northern Irish Catholic Couple now ...
  • Jonathan Pool
    "There are important questions to be answered. How can we best live our lives? How can we live good lives"?(90)Stella is the victim of a life changing event. She continues to contemplate the meaning of life in the light of her unfortunate experience, and is no nearer to finding any answers as the book closes. Midwinter Break leaves this reader with a similar feeling that the huge cracks in the marriage of Stella and Gerry are unresolvable.This is...
  • Jill
    I have very mixed feelings about this book. I wouldn't even say it is a book about a marriage but rather a book about two people who happen to be married trying to find meaning in their lives. This was a heavy read for me and reminds me again how the emotional burdens we carry with us can destroy more than just ourselves. 3.5 stars rounded to 4 mainly for the beautiful last page and because the author was able to make me feel connected to two cha...
  • Phil
    I do not write plot summaries. The publicist has done a fine job with the one provided by the publisher.Stella and Gerry are an “old married couple,” in their upper sixties, married for at least forty years. Both are set in their ways, both accommodate their partner’s habits, for better or worse. One senses and witnesses acts of love and compassion.But both are living with deep-rooted frustrations which are acted out by each on the other (p...
  • MisterHobgoblin
    Bernard MacLaverty is a sublime writer and Midwinter Break is as good as anything he has ever written.Gerry and Stella Gilmore are a long-married couple of pensionable age, living in Glasgow but originally from the north of Ireland. Gerry is fond of a nightcap and Stella has quite a strong Catholic faith. They know one another inside out. They have decided to take a mid-winter break to Amsterdam, perhaps to celebrate their enduring marriage.Gradu...
  • Tony
    MIDWINTER BREAK. (2017). Bernard MacLaverty. ****.This novel has been short-listed for the Booker Prize, and is well deserving of winning it. It’s the story of a married couple who take a trip to Copenhagen in the winter; ostensibly to get away from the harsh winters in England. This premise doesn’t really doesn’t make any sense, especially in the light of the husband’s alcoholism and his wife’s departure into self-examination at the dr...
  • Laura
    From BBC Radio 4 - Book at Bedtime:Bernard MacLaverty's first novel in sixteen years is a profound examination of human love, loss and faith.A retired Northern Irish couple, Stella and Gerry Gilmore, fly from their home in Glasgow to Amsterdam for a long weekend: a holiday to refresh the senses, to do some sightseeing, to take stock. Their relationship seems safe, easy, familiar but over the course of a few days we discover the deep uncertainties...
  • D. C.
    "I've been marking time. The family is raised -- the work's done. That can't be it, can it? There's ten or twenty years left over, as it were. We've cut the cloth of our lives wrongly. It doesn't fit."Bernard MacLaverty's MIDWINTER BREAK is the story of an elderly couple and their marriage. Stella is at her wit's end, but "How could changes be made at her age? To even think of leaving seemed such an impossibility." What do they still have, what h...
  • Joseph
    Gerry is a retired architect and lecturer. His wife Stella used to be a teacher. Like the author himself, they are Irish but have lived for a long time in Glasgow. Their marriage is a long-lived one and, to all appearances, they are close and in love. Yet, their relationship is growing hollow, drained by Gerry's alcoholism and Stella's increasing exasperation at his constant criticism of her committed Catholic faith. Things come to a head during ...
  • Pat Steinkuehler
    This never captured my interest. I tried.
  • Stephanie Jane
    See more of my book reviews on my blog, Literary FlitsI loved this novel! MacLaverty has written a sensitive, thoughtful portrayal of Stella and Gerry's relationship, the deep cracks in which are exposed during a long weekend holiday in Amsterdam. I visited the city at the same time of year, maybe a decade ago now, so enjoyed MacLaverty's evocative descriptions. I remember the bitter cold and cosy restaurants, the fearless cyclists and the strang...
  • Doug
    An astonishing, beautifully rendered portrait of a marriage unraveling in late middle age, MacLaverty's novel is destined to make my top 5 list for the year. His absolute control of his material is masterful, and how this failed to make the Booker longlist this year is beyond comprehension. Oddly, since the set-up (elderly couple going on holiday to sort out problems in their long marriage) reminded me initially of the 2014 movie 'Le Week-end', I...
  • Mary Lou
    Stella and Gerry have been married for many years. On the surface, they share enough companionship and memories of love to see them through. But drill down and all is not what it seems. Stella is at a crossroads. She assesses her life’s achievements in terms of dinners cooked, dishes washed and floors vacuumed, but she has a plan. She is shocked by the extent of the disappointment she experiences when the plan is thwarted, and is forced to re-c...
  • Kasa Cotugno
    It is while on a weekend getaway to Amsterdam that Gerry and Stella come to grips with the flaws in their marriage. Seemingly a close couple, married for decades, each harbors what they believe to be long buried secrets, however their long standing relationship renders such cluelessness improbable. This is not a barn burner. There's no real upheaval that threatens dissolution of such a marriage. But memories of a past in Belfast, a move to Glasgo...