Synopses & Reviews
The publication of a new book by William Trevor is a great literary event. Trevors last collection, A Bit on the Side
, was named a New York Times
Notable Book and hailed as one of the Best Books of the Year by papers from coast to coast, including The Washington Post
and San Francisco Chronicle
. And his earlier collection, After Rain
, published in 1996, was named one of the eight best books of the year by The New York Times
Trevors precise and unflinching insights into the hearts and lives of ordinary people are evidenced once again in this stunning new collection. From a chance encounter between two childhood friends to the memories of a newly widowed man to a family grappling with the sale of their ancestral land, Trevor examines with grace and skill the tenuous bonds of our relationships, the strengths that hold us together, and the truths that threaten to separate us. Subtle yet powerful, his stories linger with the reader long after the words have been put away.
"'The 12 stories of Trevor's latest collection blend an orchestra conductor's feel for subtlety with a monsignor's banishment of moral ambiguity. In 'The Dressmaker's Child,' a 2006 O. Henry Award winner, the future seems predetermined for rural mechanic Cahal, until the preteen daughter of the village dressmaker runs at his car with a stone in her hand. 'Men of Ireland' has the elderly Father Meade being visited by Donal Prunty, 52, a onetime altar boy gone derelict with the years. Father Meade, complicit (or perhaps not) in Prunty's undoing, learns that the erosion of memory extirpates nothing and only compounds one's regrets. The widower Mallory of the title story finds that mortality does not quite do away with the need for role playing and reverse strategies in marriage. And when Mollie of 'At Olivehill' is at last goaded by her sons into selling her deceased husband's woodlands, the earthmovers appear with the alacrity of enemy tanks, altering her internal landscape as well. The book as a whole recalls Joyce's Dubliners in making melancholia a powerful narrative device.' Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)"
Magisterial...Trevors stories, however dark they may seem, however forlornly uncompromising, are actually significantly shaped. Trevor wants us to see the point of his narratives: he wants us to experience a small but genuine catharsis as we reach the last lines, to understand what the story is trying to say
Trevor is quite at ease with lengthy passages of time
Trevors method and aim are very precise
.Trevor both shows and tells, in case we miss the pointsomething Chekhov never did. Trevor is not the Irish Chekhov
.he has created a version of the short story that almost ignores the forms hundred or so years of intricate evolution. These stories stay in the mind long after theyre finished because theyre so solid, so deliberately shaped and directed so surely toward their solemn, harsh conclusions. Perhaps there is an eighth type of short story after all: the Trevorian.
The New York Times Book Review
Literature will outpace us, like the cockroaches. After all the tinkering is done, the biggering and bettering, the rebuilding and ruining, we will have only books like William Trevors new collection Cheating at Canasta, to remind us how serious, noble, painful and happy human life once was. Trevors storiesso like James Joyces and Alice Munrospreserve something of the scale of human life.
Los Angeles Times
As a book critic, the three comments I hear most often are, I don't have time to read books, I don't like short stories,"and I only read nonfiction. A possible rejoinder to all three is: Have you ever read William Trevor? His stories many of which involve adultery, guilt, and longing are marvels of craftsmanship in which whole lives are distilled into potently concentrated essences that can be easily quaffed in a sitting
After decades at his craft, he's writing in top form, exploring misgivings and longings with subtlety and acuity.
Christian Science Monitor
" There are just a few reliable things in life: death, taxes, hunger and the precision of William Trevors short stories. The Irish-born writer never waivers in his nuanced examinations of loneliness and the peculiar ways people find themselves connecting to each other.
The Short Story as a form is difficult to mater and powerful in effectlike a well-strung bow. [Trevor] is unquestionably a master. Trevors attention has turned in this latest collection to matters of regret and loss, but the energy of erotic desire and dangerous transgressionssin, as it once was richly understood in his native Irelandstill charges his world, running like a hot current under the surface of every human interaction.
O, The Oprah Magazine
Say the name William Trevor, and that is recommendation enough for some readers
.His stories are all of one piece, and a reader barely has time to marvel at a turn of phrase or choice word because everything is so tightly pitched to move the story forward. And there are marvelous lines
Trevor is known as a profound observer of human nature, sharp and insightful. There is a point in his stories, calm and mild at first, when everything changesa revelation, lie, betrayal, accident or violence plunges the narrative straight into drama. And for the reader, its an astonishing feeling.
With a half-century of fiction behind him, William Trevors stories carry a signature of such unerring certainty that they might as well be cast in stone
However mournful in the world they portray, these stories posses an unwavering mortal center that is itself a measure of greatness.
In a few pages, [Trevor] evokes a lifetime of hurt, rage, and shame, mingles with unbidden sympathy and understanding, an emotional cocktail so believably complex youll want to sample it again and again.
Trevors precise and unflinching insights into the hearts and lives of ordinary people are evidenced once again in this stunning new collection in which the author examines the tenuous bonds of relationships, the strengths that hold people together, and the truths that threaten to separate them.
A new collection from ?the greatest living writer of short stories in the English language? (The New Yorker)
The publication of a new book by William Trevor is a true literary event. One of our finest chroniclers of the human condition, Trevor?s precise and unflinching insights into the lives of ordinary people are evidenced once again in this stunning collection of twelve stories. Subtle yet powerful, these exquisitely nuanced tales of regret, deception, adultery, aging, and forgiveness are a rare pleasure, and they confirm Trevor?s reputation as a master of the form. From a chance encounter between two childhood friends to memories of a newly widowed man to a family grappling with the sale of ancestral land, Trevor examines with grace and skill the tenuous bonds of our relationships, the strengths that hold us together, and the truths that threaten to separate us.
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.