William Trevor was born in County Cork in 1928 and spent his childhood in various provincial Irish towns. He went to Trinity College, Dublin and then to England in 1953. He now lives in Devon. In 1977 William Trevor received an honorary CBE in recognition of his services to literature, and in 1998 he was awarded the prestigious David Cohen British Literature Prize for a lifetime's achievement in writing.
With the recent death of V.S. Pritchett, Trevor is arguably the best short story writer working in the English language, and these stories are up to his own highest standards. Trevor simply knows so much, moving effortlessly between Irish rural settings, like that of the title story, and the world of the sophisticated English art historians at the heart of " A Friend in the Trade." He is equally able to inhabit the worlds of priests, restless American expatriates and quarrelsome academics, always with an acute sense of their wide range of voices and habits of mind. His effects are quiet but no less telling for that, and his understated endings are achieved with mastery. One of the best of an outstanding bunch is "The Mourning," the story of a simple Irish laborer who nearly gets to plant a bomb in London for the IRA, until he thinks better of it; the subtle way he is drawn into thinking he can perform such a desperate act says more about the Troubles than many a full-length novel. "Good News" is a heartrending account of a young girl hoping a minor film role will help bring her family together. "The Telephone Game" is a psychologically astute study of an about-to-be-married young couple who come perilously close to finding out too much about each other at the last moment. "The Virgin's Gift" is an utter change of pace, an intensely poetic story of faith and redemption that reads like a myth. "Against the Odds" is a delicious study of a woman who is a confidence trickster against her own better instincts. "Of the Cloth" is a penetrating tale of the impact a small act of kindness has over the years. Work like this reveals a perfectly crafted story as one of the true gems of literature. (Oct.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
This is the newest short story collection from prolific Irish writer Trevor. Each of the 12 stories is a carefully crafted exploration of how a single act or event can alter a life's course. In several of the stories, loss and yearning prevail, and yet the collection as a whole is not bleak, for many of Trevor's characters are redeemed by small acts of personal courage. In "Of the Cloth," a Church of Ireland priest, living in an isolated and declining rural parish, discovers "the task he'd been given" and comes to find solace in knowing that his act of kindness brought meaning to another's life. In "The Virgin's Gift," a reclusive monk questions the meaning of his faith and the quest he is given only to discover a gift that is greater then any he could previously have imagined. In "The Mourning," Liam Pat is a simple Irish laborer working in England who is taken in by a dubious mentor but finds within himself the personal strength to act on his own best instincts. While the situations that begin some of the stories seem somehow familiar, every story includes a revealing moment that captures the reader's imagination and evokes strong feelings for the characters involved. Highly recommended.DCaroline Hallsworth, Sudbury P.L., Ont. Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.