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A Bit on the Sideby William Trevor
Synopses & Reviews
William Trevor is truly a Chekhov for our age, and a new collection of stories from him is always a cause for celebration. In these twelve stories, a waiter divulges his shocking life of crime to his ex-wife; a woman repeats the story of her parents' unstable marriage after a horrible tragedy; a schoolgirl regrets gossiping about the cuckolded man who tutors her; and, in the volume's title story, a middle-aged accountant offers his reasons for ending a love affair.
At the heart of this stunning collection is Trevor's characteristic tenderness and unflinching eye for both the humanizing and dehumanizing aspects of modern urban and rural life.
"The protagonists of this haunting, emotionally bleak collection of stories — a new widow confessing to two surprised Legion of Mary sisters the secrets of her marriage to a hateful man in 'Sitting with the Dead'; a woman stalked by her lonely, possibly violent ex-husband in 'On the Streets'; an heiress who compulsively recounts her tragic life story to total strangers in 'Solitude'; and a couple who exploit each other on a blind date in 'An Evening Out' — are generally 50-ish, usually childless and almost always burdened by regret over relationships decayed or forgone. They live in the aftermath of irremediable mistakes, ruefully cognizant that hope and romance are often delusory covers for self-interest and survival. Even the young — an 18-year-old girl who weeps with regret over future betrayals, an Irish woman who calls off her wedding after realizing she loves the dream of America more than her intended — are melancholy and introspective. Trevor reveals his native Ireland as a world sandwiched between modernity and its accompanying wealth, secularism and vulgarity, and a past that was more soulful and pious but also more restrictive. The much-lauded Trevor (Felicia's Journey; The Story of Lucy Gault; etc.) explores the many sources and shadings of regret with his usual delicate but brilliant psychological nuance, brightened occasionally by nostalgia for the lost love that once impelled his characters forward. Agent, Peter Matson at Sterling Lord Literistic." Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"[A] dozen wise and beautifully crafted pieces from a master....There's nothing mechanical about the simple humility and compassion that make the best of Trevor's stories so moving." Kirkus Reviews
"The dozen stories in the latest collection by beloved, critically esteemed Irish writer Trevor typify his best traits....In these stories, as always in his fiction, Trevor adds to our understanding of human nature." Booklist (Starred Review)
"[Trevor] manages to carry the reader so surely into the inner world of his troubled characters that one cannot help emerging with a broader moral compass, a more complicated view of the human condition." Lynn Freed, The New York Times Book Review
"Every story here is a model example of just how much a great writer can reveal in a short space." Newsweek
"A Bit on the Side is a wonderful book....William Trevor really is the best short story writer alive." Michael Dirda, The Washington Post
"Perpetual award winner Trevor offers 12 stories sure to sparkle." Library Journal
From the bestselling author of The Story of Lucy Gault, Death in Summer, After Rain, and Felicia's Journey comes a collection of short fiction.
William Trevor's stunning new collection of stories displays this renowned craftsman at the peak of his powers. A middle-aged couple meet in a theatre bar for a squalid blind date; a disappointed priest fears an innocent young girl may run away from home; two self-certain sisters visit a newly widowed local woman. From these slender moments Trevor creates whole lives, conjuring up characters marked by bitterness and loss. William Trevor's graceful prose is a wonder in itself, and as convincing when inhabiting the mind of a school lunchmaid, an adulterous Irish country librarian or a murderer on the London streets. And as is always the case with William Trevor, venom and tragedy are never far from the still surface of the stories.
These stories, many of which first appeared in "The New Yorker, are small masterpieces of observation from one of the most highly acclaimed and beloved writers of the century.
"From the Hardcover edition.
William Trevor is truly a Chekhov for our age, and a new collection of stories from him is always a cause for celebration. In these twelve stories, a waiter divulges a shocking life of crime to his ex-wife; a woman repeats the story of her parents’ unstable marriage after a horrible tragedy; a schoolgirl regrets gossiping about the cuckolded man who tutors her; and, in the volume’s title story, a middle-aged accountant offers his reasons for ending a love affair. At the heart of this stunning collection is Trevor’s characteristic tenderness and unflinching eye for both the humanizing and dehumanizing aspects of modern urban and rural life.
From the bestselling author of "The Story of Lucy Gault, Death in Summer, After Rain," and "Felicia's Journey" comes a collection of short fiction. Trevor is a regular contributor to "The New Yorker" magazine.
About the Author
William Trevor is the author of twenty-nine books, including Felicia's Journey, which won the Whitbread Book of the Year Award and was made into a motion picture. In 1996 he was the recipient of the Lannan Award for Fiction. In 2001, he won the Irish Times Literature Prize for fiction. Two of his books were chosen by the New York Times as best books of the year, and his short stories appear regularly in the New Yorker. In 1997, he was named Honorary Commander of the British Empire. He lives in Devon, England.
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