Midwinter Break
For readers of Colm Toíbín, a moving portrait of a marriage in crisis and a couple's search for salvation.

Sixteen years on from his last novel, Bernard MacLaverty reminds us why he is regarded as one of the greatest living Irish writers. 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 his lifestyle, worried about their marriage, and angry at his constant undermining of her religious faith. Things are not helped by memories that have begun to resurface of a troubled time in their native Ireland. As their midwinter break comes to an end, we understand how far apart they are - and can only watch as they struggle to save themselves.

MacLaverty is a master storyteller, and Midwinter Break is the essential MacLaverty novel: accurate, compassionate observation; effortlessly elegant writing; and a tender, intimate, heartrending story. Yet it is also a profound examination of human love and how we live together, a chamber piece of real resonance and power. Forty years after his first book, MacLaverty has written his masterpiece.

Midwinter Break Details

Book TitleMidwinter Break
Book Author
by 0 user

Midwinter Break Reviews

  • Paromjit
    Dec 31, 1969


    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 thr...

  • Elyse
    Dec 31, 1969


    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'...

  • Maureen
    Dec 31, 1969


    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...

  • Diane S ☔
    Dec 31, 1969

    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 a...

  • Karen
    Dec 31, 1969


    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 ...

  • Susan Johnson
    Dec 31, 1969

    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 sha...

  • Bettie☯
    Dec 31, 1969


    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 saf...

  • Rebecca Foster
    Dec 31, 1969

    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 interio...

  • Terri Jacobson
    Dec 31, 1969

    Terri Jacobson

    I'm putting this aside on page 124. Gerry and Stella have been married for 40 years, and at this point Gerry is most concerned with his drinking and Stella is concerned with her spiritual life. They are on a winter vacation in Amsterdam. I'm a little bored and a little fed up with the ...

  • Sue
    Dec 31, 1969


    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...