This was a lovely read and I owe it to Thomas at My Porch. His review compelled me to add it to my reading queue and really, you should just go read his review for yourself.
Written in 1980 by J.L. Carr, A Month in the Country is the story of a young man, Tom Birkin, who returns to England after World War I shattered from his experience and a broken marriage. He is hired to restore an ancient mural on the wall of a small church in a Yorkshire village.
There are so many good passages but this is an interesting exchange between Birkin and his friend, as they try to figure out something about the original artist who created the mural 500 years ago:
"And what else can be established about our departed brother?"
"Right handed, about your build--he had to use some sort of stool to get up to six feet--that's if I'm right about the parts he did on his knees or crouched on his haunches. That's about all. Well, maybe he'd lived in some monastery. Only a guess, but his hands talk like monks' hands must have talked in the long silences. Oh, one last thing--he didn't trust his apprentice. He did the lot except this bottom bit, this corner of hell. Look, you can see; it's a rough job, a fill-in. Can't understand why he handed over to his lad when his nose was at the winning-post."
Between the process of healing for this young man and the descriptions of restoring the artwork, I was captured. I did not want this book to end. Go and read it, you won't be disappointed.