"Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living, it's a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope" - Dr Seuss
"Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint." - Mark Twain
Dublin 4, the title a nice double-entendre, snapshots the lives of four people living in this exclusive south Dublin post code. Binchy does a good job of grabbing your curiosity from the word go, and for the most part she doesn't let it go.
In the first, and my favourite of the four, Carmel plans a dinner party and invites her husband's mistress. The interest and suspense grows as we near the date, and we are as unsure as the rest of the neighborhood whether she knows about her husbands affair. In the second, Jo, a country girl, moves to the city, and we experience her wide-eyed naivety and loneliness at first hand.
Next comes Pat: young, pregnant and too scared to tell her parents. A similar situation in which her sister Cathy had found herself a few years earlier. We share Pat's journey as she tries to understand both Cathy's story and her own. Then finally there is Gerry, who returns from rehab to his wife and family, and attempts to return to his former glory days as a photographer.
Each story, it feels, finishes before it is complete, leaving you thinking - with your curiosity not entirely satisfied. And this is probably the best thing about the book, you find yourself with the same feelings and uncertainty that each character is left with at that point in time.
A quick and enjoyable read, tinged with the sad realities of life.