William Trevor

LifeWorksCriticismCommentaryQuotationsReferencesNotes

Life
1928- ; [William Trevor Cox; nom de plume William Trevor]; b. 24 May, 1928, at Mitchelstown, Co. Cork; son of James Cox, bank-manager, and Gertie (née Davison) - also a bank official, of Co. Armagh; second of three children, the eldest being a sister ultimately charged with the care of his parents; the family moved to work in various Irish towns including Youghal, Skibbereen, Enniscorthy, Tipperary, Portlaoise, and Galway (‘middle-class Gipsies’); ed. in 11 schools, with some private tuition from an ex-Christian Brother employed by his mother, before entering Sandford Park as a boarder, aged 14; witnessed escalating misery of his parents marriage and experienced isolation among 12 boarders; transferred to St. Columba’s at 16; encouraged by sculptor Oisín Kelly, who taught there; entered TCD, at first for Medicine but grad. in History, 1950;
 
acted as private tutor to young woman in Celbridge (‘a suit a nun’); married Jane Ryan, his college sweetheart, 1952 (with whom 2 sons); on finishing university taught at a prep-school in Killyleagh, Co. Armagh, which soon went bankrupt and was sold to a chicken farmer; moved on to English prep-school near Rugby; worked in an advertising office, but resigned after an unofficial break with his wife (‘before they could sack me.’); embarked on a career as a sculptor, during which he carved a lecturn modelled on the Book of Kells whose detail had fascinated him when at TCD, but gave it up as having become ‘too abstract’ - missing figurative work;
 
exhibited sculpture in Bath; joint winner of International Year of the Political Prisoner art competition, Irish section, c.1952, and exhibited at Tate; lived as sculptor in Portlaoise; settled in West Country, England, where his wife taught; house-husband; exhibition in Bath; moved to London on birth of first child and wrote advertising copy for Nottley’s (‘I never wrote a slogan in my life’); resigned on the point of sacking by KLM manager; bought house nr. Honition, Devon;
 
resettled c.1981 in smaller house with defunct mill;; latterly taught art in an English school, pursued career as sculptor for 16 years before giving up in favour of writing; wrote A Standard of Behaviour (1958), which he later dismissed as ‘rubbish’; gave up art for writing as a livelihood, 1960; became copywriter at Notley’s advertising agency, London; contrib. stories to Transatlantic Review and London Magazine; noticed by Bodley Head; at publisher’s request for a novel, he remodelled a short story as The Old Boys (1964), winning the Hawthornden Prize; rewritten for the stage, 1971;
 
his short story collections incl. The Day We Got Drunk on Cake (1966), The Ballroom of Romance (1977); Angels at the Ritz (1975); Lovers of Their Time (1978), which includes ‘Attracta’, the story of a Protestant school-teacher appalled by the information that her parents’ death was caused by neighbours; Beyond the Pale (1981), the majority with Irish connections; The News from Ireland (1986), many set in Italy; further novels often encompass the ‘short stories’ of several characters, incl. The Boarding House (1965); The Love Department (1966); Mrs Eckdorf in O’Neill’s Hotel (1969), centred on Mrs. Sinnott;
 
also Miss Gomez and the Brethren (1971); Ballroom of Romance (1972), a mordant study of courting and romance in rural Ireland; issued Elizabeth Alone (1973), set in a hospital; won the Whitbread Prize with Children of Dynemouth (1976), which also won the Allied Irish Banks Literary Award, 1976; awarded CBE, 1977; issued Other People’s Worlds (1980); Fools of Fortune (1983), a ‘big house’ novel in which three narrators spanning 60 years chronicle the tensions for the Quintons and the Woodcombes, punctuated by episodes of violence and resulting in the protagonist Imelda’s final retreat into silence after the burning of Kilneagh (later filmed by Pat O’Connor);issued The Silence in the Garden (1988), using a diary to supplement the narrative of a killing perpetrated at the ‘big house’ in Carriglas during the Anglo-Irish War;
 
interviewed in Paris Review (1989) [calls the short story ‘an art of the glimpse’ [whose] strength lies in what it leaves out.’]; issued Two Lives (1991), shortlisted for Booker 1991 and containing ‘Reading Turgenev’, centred on Marie Louise Dallon, who passes herself off as mad, and ‘My House in Umbria’; issued Felicia’s Journey (1994), the story of an Irish girl falling victim to a catering manager and serial killer, to be filmed with Mel shortlisted for Booker, winner of Sunday Express Prize, 1994; Death in Summer (1998), dealing with the death of an unloved mother, the love of a child, and the arrival of an abused and criminally insane nanny (‘Pettie’) at Quincunx House, the home of Thaddeus Davenant;
 
contrib. “Against the Odds” (Harper’s, Jan. 1999), the story of a Mrs. Kincaid of Belfast who exploits others to recoup money stolen from her by a former boyfriend, and a parable of Northern Ireland; The Hill Bachelors (2000), winner of The Irish Times’ Irish Literature Prize, 2001 - incls. storey of Liam Pat Brogan, inveigled by IRA to plant a bomb in London; awarded PEN/AT Cross for lifetime achievement, March 2002; issued Story of Lucy Gault (2002), set in the Irish ’Twenties; shortlisted for Man Booker Prize and Whitbread Fiction Prize; issued A Bit on the Side (2004), stories set in Ireland and England, of which ten appeared previously in The New Yorker; received the Bob Hughes Lifetime Achievement Award in Irish Literature [PEN/Irish Times Book Awards], Mansion House, Dublin, 24 April 2008;
 
issued Love and Summer (2009), on secrets and sorrows of small-town life, a ‘shock omission’ from the Booker shortlist, according to some; lives in rural Devon; a sculpture was unveiled at Mitchelstown in Trevor’s honour in Aug. 2004. DIB DIW DIL OCEL OCIL
[ top ]

Works
Novels
  • A Standard of Behaviour (London: Hutchinson 1958; Sphere 1962; Abacus 1982);
  • The Old Boys (London: Bodley Head; NY: Viking 1964), 186pp., and Do., as play-text (Davis-Poynter 1971);
  • The Boarding House (London: Bodley Head; NY: Viking 1965);
  • The Love Department (Bodley Head 1966; NY: Viking 1967);
  • Mrs Eckdorf in O’Neill’s Hotel (London: Bodley Head 1969; NY: Viking 1970; Harmondswoorth Penguin 1973);
  • Miss Gomez and Her Brethern (London: Bodley Head 1971), Do., reiss. (Penguin 1997), pb., 248pp.;
  • Elizabeth Alone (London: Bodley Head 1973);
  • The Children of Dynemouth (London: Bodley Head 1976);
  • Other People’s Worlds (London: Bodley Head 1980);
  • Fools of Fortune (London: Bodley Head 1983);
  • Nights at the Alexandra (London: Hutchinson, 1987; Arrow 1988), 71pp.;
  • The Silence in the Garden (London: Bodley Head 1988; rep. Penguin 1996), 208pp.;
  • Felicia’s Journey (London: Viking 1994), 219pp.;
  • Death in Summer (London: Viking 1998), 213pp. Do., trans. into French by Katia Holmes as Mourir Été (Paris: Phébus 1999) [see extract as “Fatal Attractions” - attached];
  • Story of Lucy Gault (London: Viking 2002), 227pp. Press 2003), 128pp.;
  • Love and Summer (London: Viking 2009), 256pp.
[ top ]
Short Fiction
  • The Day We Got Drunk on Cake and Other Stories (London: Bodley Head 1967), gathered with others in Penguin Modern Stories (Harmondsworth: Penguin 1971);
  • The Ballroom of Romance and Other Stories (London: Bodley Head 1972);
  • The Last Lunch of the Season (London: Covent Garden Press 1973);
  • Angels at the Ritz and Other Stories (London: Bodley Head 1975) [inc.. Afternoon Dancing’, and ‘A Complicated Nature’; ‘The Distant Past’ (on N. Ireland Troubles)];
  • Lovers of Their Time (London: Bodley Head 1978) [incl. ‘Attracta’; ‘Matilda’s England’, ‘The Raising of Elvira Tremlett’, et al.];
  • Beyond the Pale and Other Stories (London: Bodley Head 1981) [incl. ‘That Time of Year’];
  • The News from Ireland (London: Bodley Head 1986) [incl. ‘Two More Gallants’];
  • Family Sins and Other Stories (London: Bodley Head 1989);
  • Two Lives (London: Bodley Head 1991; NY: Viking Press; Harmondsworth: Penguin 1992) [‘Reading Turgenev’, and ‘My House in Umbria’];
  • Cocktails at Doney’s and Other Stories, sel. by Giles Gordon (London: Bloomsbury 1996), 180pp. [“Cocktails at Doney’s”; “The Ballroom of Romance”; “The Grass Widows”; “Broken Homes”; “A Meeting in Middle Age”; “Widows”; “Death in Jerusalem”];
  • The Hill Bachelors: Stories (NY: Viking Press 2000), 245pp. [see contents];
  • A Bit on the Side (London: Viking; Penguin 2004), 244pp.
    Short Stories: Cheating at Canasta
    (London: Viking 2007), 231pp.
Collected & selected editions
  • Collected Short Stories (1992);
  • Ireland: Selected Stories (Penguin 1995), 272pp. [incl. ‘Ballroom of Romance’; ‘The Distant Past’; ‘Teresa’s Wedding’, et al.];
  • Outside Ireland: Selected Stories (Harmondsworth: Penguin 1995), 272pp. [contents].
[ top ]
Omnibus
  • Three Early Novels (Harmondsworth: Penguin 2000), [The Old Boys, The Boarding-House, The Love Department] p.1, p.167, p.411; 663pp.
Plays
  • Going Home (1972);
  • A Night with Mrs. da Tonka (London: Samuel French, 1972);
  • Marriages (London: Sam. French 1974);
  • Scenes from an Album (Dublin: Co-Op Books 1981) [var. 1982/83].
 
Autobiography
  • Excursions in the Real World ([1st ed. 1993]; Penguin 1994), 208pp. [incls. ‘Field of Battle’ [essay], in Excursions into the Real World (London: Hutchinson 1998).
For Children
  • Juliet’s Story (Dublin: O’Brien Press 2003), 128pp.
[ top ]
Miscellaneous
  • Writers and Places (BBC TV; 22 Jan. 1981);
  • A Writer’s Ireland, Landscape in Literature (London: Thames & Hudson; NY: Viking 1984), 192pp. ill.;
  • ed., The Oxford Book of Irish Short Stories (OUP 1989), 587pp. [contents];
  • ‘Sinned Against and Sinning’, in Firebrand 1 (Penguin/Lane 1982);
  • also ‘Between Holyhead and Dun Laoghaire’, in Times Literary Supplement (6 Feb. 1981), p.131;
 
Note: Trevor contribted to the TCD Quatrocentennial Issue of The Irish Times (May 1992);

[ top ]

Bibliographical details
Outside Ireland: Selected Stories (Harmondsworth: Penguin 1995), 272pp. [incl. ‘Access to the Children’; ‘The General’s Day’; ‘Going Home’, et al.]; After Rain (NY: Viking Press 1996; Penguin 1997), 224pp. [incl. ‘Widows’; ‘A Friendship’; ‘Gilbert’s Mother’; ‘Timothy’s Birthday’; ‘Child’s Play’; ‘Lost Ground’; ‘The Potato Dealer’; ‘The Piano Tuner’s Wives’; ‘A Day’, et al.].

Stories: The Hill Bachelors (London: Viking 2000), 244pp. CONTENTS: Three People [1 - available at NYTimes online]; Of the Cloth [21]; Good News [40]; The Mourning [63]; A Friend in the Trade [89]; Low Sunday, 1950 [107]; Le Visiteur [122]; The Virgin’s Gift [139]; Death of a Professor [155]; Against the Odds [180]; The Telephone Game [207]; The Hill Bachelors [224]. (Signed copy in PGIL 12th October 2000.)

Cheating at Canasta (London: Viking 2007), 231pp. CONTENTS: “The dressmaker’s child”; “The room”; “Men of Ireland”; “Cheating at Canasta”; “Bravado”; “At Afternoon”; “At Olivehill”; “A Perfect Relationship”; “The Children”; “Old Flame”; “Faith”;“Folie à deux”.

[ top ]

Criticism
Author studies
  • Gregory A. Schirmer, William Trevor: A Study of His Fiction (London: Routledge 1990), 188pp. [infra];
  • Kristin Morrison, William Trevor (NY: Twayne Publ. 1993);
  • Suzanne Morrow Paulson, William Trevor: A Study of the Short Fiction (Twayne Publ. 1993) [gathers interviews];
  • Dolores MacKenna, William Trevor: The Writer and His Work (Dublin: New Island; US: Dufour Press 1999), 252pp. [incls. ‘personal interview’];
  • Mary Fitzgerald-Hoyt, William Trevor: Re-Imagining Ireland (Dublin: Liffey Press 2002), 200pp. [infra];
  • Hugh Ormsby-Lennon, Fools of Fiction: Reading William Trevor Stories (Maunsel & Co. 2005), 364pp.
General studies
  • See also Rüdiger Imhof, ed., Contemporary Irish Novelists (Tübingen 1990), p.107[ff.];
  • Vera Kreilkamp, Anglo-Irish Novel and the Big House (Syracuse UP; Eurospan 1999);
  • James M. Cahalan, Double Visions: Women and Men in Modern and Contemporary Irish Fiction (Syracuse: Syracuse UP 1999), 234pp.;
  • Barbara O’Connor [on film version of The Ballroom of Romance], in Mary J. Kelly & Barbara O’Connor, Media Audiences in Ireland: Power and Cultural Identity (UCD Press 1998);
  • Stephen McBride, Felicia’s Journey [Ireland into Film Ser.] (Cork UP 2007), 99pp.
[ top ]
Articles
  • Hugh Herbert, ‘Just William’, interview in Manchester Guardian (3 Nov. 1970), p.10.
  • Jonathan Raban [q. subj.], in New Statesman (15 Oct. 1971).
  • Mark Mortimer, ‘William Trevor in Dublin’, in Etudes Irlandaises 4 (Nov. 1975), pp.77-85.
  • Ralph Bowman, ‘William Trevor’ [interview], Transatlantic Review, 53-54 (Feb. 1976), pp.5-6.
  • interviewed by Terence de Vere White, The Irish Times, 10 Aug. 1976.
  • Julian Glitzen, ‘The Truth-tellers of William Trevor’, in Critique, 21, 1 (August 1979), pp.59-72.
  • Ronald Hayman, ‘William Trevor in interview’, in British Books News (June 1980), pp.13-14.
  • Patricia Craig ‘Thin Ice’, in New York Review of Books (19 March 1981), p.36.
  • John Updike, ‘Worlds and Worlds’, in New Yorker (23 March 1981), p.155.
  • Amanda Smith, ‘William Trevor’, in Publishers’ Weekly (28 Oct. 1983), pp.80-81.
  • Robert Rhodes, ‘William Trevor’s Stories of the Troubles, in Contemporary Irish Writing (Iona College Press; NY: Twayne Publ. 1983), pp.95-114.
  • Clare Boylan, ‘Trevor’s Troubles’, interview with William Trevor, in Sunday Press (24 April 1983) [q.pp.]
  • Bernard O’Donoghue, review of Collected Stories, in Times Literary Supplement (13 Nov. 1992), p.19. [see extract]
  • Alan Jackson, I Have Great Gaps in my Education’ [interview], in The Times Saturday Review, 11 Apr 1992, p.46 [see extract].
  • Jim McCue, review of Felicia’s Journey, in Times Literary Supplement (19 Aug. 1994), p.20.
  • Tom Adair, ‘Just William [... is a spy]’ interview, in Sunday Tribune (28 Aug. 1994) [see extract].
  • Thomas Kilroy, review of Felicia’s Journey, in The Irish Times (20 Aug. 1994), [see extract].
  • Mortimer, ‘The Short Stories of William Trevor’, in Études Irlandaises, 9 (Nov. 1984), pp.161-73.
  • Paul Gray, review of Felicia’s Journey, in Time Magazine (30 Jan. 1995), p.58 [see extract].
  • John J. Stinson, ‘Replicas, Foils and revelation in William Trevor’, in The Canadian Journal of Irish Studies, 12 (Dec. 1985), pp.17-26.
  • Mortimer, ‘William Trevor’, in Ireland Today, 1031 (Sept. 1986), pp.7-10.
  • Michael W. Thomas, ‘William Trevor’s Other Ireland: The Writer and his Irish in his England’, in Irish Studies Review, 6, 2 (August 1988), pp.149-56.
  • Desmond Traynor, review of Outside Ireland: Selected Stories, in Books Ireland (April 1996), p.91.
  • Jacqueline Stahl Aronson, ‘William Trevor, An Interview’, in Irish Literary Supplement (Spring 1986), pp.7-8.
  • William H. Pritchard, ‘The Art of Glimpse’ [on Trevor’s fiction], in The New York Times (22. Oct. 2000) - avaiable online.
  • Michiko Kakutani, review of The Hill Bachelors, in The New York Times (17 Oct. 2000) - available online.
  • Anita Desai, review of William Trevor, Death in Summer (Viking), in NY Review of Books, 8 Oct. 1998) [see extract].
  • James Lasdun, ‘A Genius for Misery’, review of After Rain, in Times Literary Supplement (27 Sept. 1996), p.23 [see extract].
  • Michael D. Thomas, ‘“Deep Distances”, William Trevor’s Narrative Strategies’, in Irish Studies Review, 15 (Summer 1996), pp.21-25.
  • MacKenna, ‘William Trevor’ in Rüdiger Imhof, ed., Contemporary Irish Novelists [Studies in English and Comparative Literature, ed. Michael Kenneally and Wolfgang Zach] (Tübingen: Gunter Narr Verlag 1990), pp.109-41.
  • Harry Clifton, reviewing William Trevor, The Hill Bachelors (Viking), in The Irish Times (14 Oct. 2000) [see extract]
  • Declan Kiberd, ‘Demented Bachelors’, review of The Hill Bachelors, in London Review of Books (8 March 2001), pp.30-31 [see extract].
  • Eileen Battersby, ‘Beyond the Lace Curtains’, interview with William Trevor, in The Irish Times [Weekend] (18 Nov. 2000) [see extract].
  • John Crowley, review of William Trevor, The Hill Bachelors (Viking), in Washington Post (10-16 Dec. 2000), p.14 [see extract].
  • Margaret Boerner, ‘Irish Tales: William Trevor defines the stories by which we understand ourselves’, in The Weekly Standard [US] (Dec. 2000), pp.30-31 [see extract].
  • Homan Potterton, ‘Suggestions of Concavity: William Trevor as Sculptor’, Irish Arts Review , vol 18 (2002), pp.93-103.
  • Tom McAlindon, ‘Tragedy, History, and Myth: William Trevor’s Fools of Fortune’, in Irish University Review (Autumn/Winter 2003), pp.291-306;
  • John Wilson Foster, ‘Stretching the Imagination: Some Trevor Novels’, in Between Shadows: Modern Irish Writing and Culture (Dublin: IAP 2009), pp.57-71 [see extract].
  • Tim Adams, ‘William Trevor: The Keen-eyed Chronicler’, in The Observer ( 2 Aug. 2009) - available online;
  • Eileen Battersby, ‘I am a fiction writer. It is what I had to do’, interview with William Trevor, in The Irish Times (16 April 2011), Weekend Review, p.11 [see extract].

See also Denis Donogue on ‘Wiliam Trevor’, in Irish Essays (Cambridge UP 2011), pp.215-25. [Pt. IV].

 
For further unlisted reviews, see under Commentary, infra.

[ top ]

Reviews of books by William Trevor at New York Times in 1998
  • The Old Boys, reviewed by Charles Poore (1964) - ‘The elemental value of Mr. Trevor’s wryly entertaining story lies less in its grubby specifics than in its illuminating generalities. It reminds us that at every level of every society there are groups of Old Boys cocooned in smug insularity.’
  • The Old Boys, reviewed by J. D. Scott (1964) - ‘His publishers tell us that Mr. Trevor is young, and this makes it all the more remarkable that he should have taken this difficult material and made out of it a novel that is exceedingly readable, touchingly sad and dreadfully funny.’
  • The Boarding House (1965) - ‘It is a fantasy world that the author here establishes, one in which people are identified by their quirks rather than by their character - where evil exists in 24-carat purity. But it is a world consistent with itself, and its finale is as fitting as the pyrotechnics of Hansel and Gretel.’
  • The Love Department (1967) - ‘[L]ike the characters in the silents, there is something childlike about these people. It prevents one from taking them seriously, however cleverly arranged their activities may be.’
  • The Day We Got Drunk on Cake and Other Stories (1968) - ‘These clever, meticulously written, brittle tales almost all lead the reader into a blind alley, where it seems that the best, if not the only thing to do, is accept the limitations life has inexorably imposed.’
  • Mrs. Eckdorf in O’Neill’s Hotel (1970) - ‘What you will encounter in these ingenious pages is an inspired misanthropy that rings a medley of changes on the themes of self-deception and utter hopelessness.’
  • Elizabeth Alone (1974) - ‘[... a] deeply moving novel, his finest since ’The Old Boys.’’
  • Angels at the Ritz and Other Stories , reviewed by Anne Tyler (1976) - ‘William Trevor gives us the ... joy of admiring how very unplaceable people really are: eternally shifting, unfolding new surfaces and capable of endless surprises.’
  • The Children of Dynmouth, reviewed by Joyce Carol Oates (1977) - ‘[...] Trevor’s finest novel so far ... manages to give life to a surprising variety of people, linking them together in the rhythms of a community ... a sensitive and honorable achievement, a work of rare compassion.’
  • Lovers of Their Time and Other Stories (1979) - ‘William Trevor is a professional craftsman, and occasionally in his professionalism he sets up his characters a little glibly [....] He doesn’t have the lunatic flair of genius. But he’s a very fine writer.’
  • Other People’s Worlds (1981) - ‘All the gifts that were obvious in Mr. Trevor’s earlier books are even more apparent here. They are the gifts of a fabulist-entertainer with a coolly ironic eye for detail.’
  • Beyond the Pale and Other Stories (1982) - ‘With Trevor as with Joyce one often has the sense of gazing down through the lucid surface of a personality to the dark, ambiguous activity of the soul... . a truly wonderful writer ...’
  • Fools of Fortune’ and The Stories of William Trevor’ (1983) - ‘Readers are now in a position to take a longish view of the accomplishment of a master of short fiction who (like V. S. Pritchett, his only rival in England) has never settled for an easy formula. As for Fools of Fortune” ... opinion will, I predict, be divided between those who welcome the innovations and those who find them less than congenial to the author’s temperament and craft.’
  • The News From Ireland and Other Stories (1986) - ‘... proves once more that he is best when writing about his native land.’
  • The Silence in the Garden (1988) - ‘In its portrayal of [its] time ... “The Silence in the Garden” offers marvels with Mr. Trevor’s customary understated dexterity. Perhaps the deep, dark family secret, which is handled in so much more offhand and perfunctory a fashion, simply couldn’t compete for its author’s attention with the rest of 1931’s dismal, dead-end Ireland.’
  • Family Sins & Other Stories (1990) - ‘None of the new stories ... quite match the full-textured brilliance of “Beyond the Pale,” the title piece of an earlier collection. Nevertheless, several of these carefully written tales, grim but filled with a dark beauty, are wonderfully resonant.’
  • Two Lives (1991) - ‘Trevor’s readers will also find themselves jolted: gently yet insistently made to see the complexities beneath the orderly, beautifully composed surfaces of his storytelling.’
  • The Collected Stories, reviewed by Reynolds Price (1993) - ‘With this new immense collection, William Trevor has filed in serene self-trust the results of years of work of impeccable strength and a piercing profundity that’s very seldom surpassed in short fiction.’
  • Excursions in the Real World: Memoirs (1994) - ‘This delightful book, which seems so relaxed as to be almost casual, is in fact a serious confrontation between Mr. Trevor and his memory.’
  • Juliet’s Story (1994) - ‘... as fully stocked as F. A. O. Schwarz.’
  • Felicia’s Journey (1995) - ‘... a subtle, plausible and infinitely pathetic portrait of a monster.’
  • After Rain (1996) - ‘ [...] a luminously disturbing new collection [..T]hese stories are like a complicated, infinitely subtle, delicately inflected rendering of the Freudian notion that self-knowledge might bring freedom.’
Articles about and by William Trevor
  • TV: Exquisite ‘General’s Day’ (January 25, 1977). This review of a television play written by Trevor calls the production ‘exquisitely mounted’ and the characters ‘out of Harold Pinter, by way of David Storey.’
  • Stories Keep Coming to a Late-Blooming Writer (May 21, 1990). In this profile, Trevor discusses his writing process, saying that he usually sets out to write a short story but that ‘sometimes I find myself, to my considerable horror, in the midst of a novel.’
  • The Deadly Sins/ Gluttony; Remembering Mr. Pinkerton, by William Trevor (June 27, 1993). Reminiscing in a bar about an accountant with unhealthy appetites, Trevor writes, ‘We wonder [...] if St. Thomas Aquinas was fair to designate [gluttony] a sin when more charitably it might perhaps have been called an eating disorder.’
William Trevor reads ...  
  • “Teresa’s Wedding”
  • “The Piano Tuner’s Wives ”
 

... 92nd Street Y, May 12, 1997.

 

Commentary
See infra.

[ top ]

Quotations
See infra.

[ top ]

References
Seamus Deane
, gen. ed., The Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing (Derry: Field Day 1991), Vol.3, selects title story from Beyond the Pale and Other Stories (1981), 1007-20; refs at pp.937, 939, 941, 942, 1076; also pp.1133-4 [quotes ‘A Trinity’].

Giles Gordon & David Hughes, eds., The Minerva Book of Short Stories (Minerva/Woman’s Journal 1990) [first publ. as Best Short Stories 1988 (London: Heinemann 1988)], selects fiction, pp.209-28. Penguin Modern Short Stories (1971) also incls. a story.

Wikipedia’s William Trevor page includes links to ...
 
Accessed 02.08.2011.

Kevin Rockett, et al., eds., Cinema & Ireland (1988); Attracta, William Trevor story directed by Kieran Hickey, 1983, with 75% Film Board budget; social and political complexities reduced to attrocities such as mass rape and decapitated head in biscuit tin (p.193, n.83).

[ top ]

RTE Guide:Ballroom of Romance, set in 1959, also filmed by BBC/RTE co-production and transmitted RTE (31 October 1982): Director, Pat O’Connor; with cast incl. Brenda Fricker (Bridie), Bowser Egan (John Kavanagh), Mr Dwyer (Cyril Cusack), Dano Ryan (Michael Lally), Eyes Horgan (Niall Toibin), Madge Dowling (Pat Leavy), Eenie Mackie (Ingrid Craigie (Patty Byrne (Brid Brennan), Mrs Dwyer (May Ollis), Cat Bolger (Anita Reeves), screenplay by Trevor.

Helena Sheehan, Irish Television Drama, a society and its stories (1987), lists RTE productions of Access to the Children (1984), Attracta (based on Trevor); Ballroom of Romance (RTE/BBC 1981), One of Ourselves (1983), Teresa’s Wedding (1980).

[ top ]

Eric Stevens (1992 Cat.) lists Family Sins and other stories [set in Ireland] (Bodley Head 1990) [1st ed.], 251pp [5].

Eggeley Books (Cat. 44) lists Old School Ties (Lemon Tree Press 1976), 146pp.; George and Alice and Isabel’, in the Ninth Ghost Book, ed rosemay Timerpley (Barrie & Jenkins 1973); The Only Story, in The SEventh Ghost Book, ed Timperley (Barrie and Jenkins 1971).

The Irish Times has printed “The Mourning”, an story from The Hill Bachelors (Irish Times, 28 Oct. 2000, p.11).

[ top ]

Notes
The Silence in the Garden
(London: Bodley Head 1988; rep. Penguin [q.d.]): Sarah Pollexfen comes to the island estate of Carriglas as governess to her wealthy cousins; summoned back years later, when idyllic memories are shattered as she is forced to confront dark legacy of long buried secrets and punishments. (Penguin Notice, Irish Literary Supplement, Spring 1996).

[ top ]

Cheating at Canasta (2007): ’No matter what,’ Julia had said, aware then of what was coming, ’let’s always play cards.’ And they did; for even with her memory gone, a little more of it each day - her children taken, her house, her flowerbeds, belongings, clothes - their games in the communal drawing room were a reality her affliction allowed. A husband sits in Harry’s Bar in Venice, thinking of his wife - lost to him now - whose plea has brought him back to one of their favourite haunts. On another table, a young couple quarrel. Cheating at Canasta is the title story of William Trevor’s new collection, his first since the highly acclaimed A Bit on the Side (2004), and its themes of missed opportunities, the inevitability of change and the powerful but fragmentary quality of our memories are entirely characteristic of his unparalleled oeuvre. (COPAC.)

[ top ]

Walter Reade Theatre (Programme 1994) cites Ballroom of Romance, film by Pat O’Connor (1982), 52 mins., taking authentic and heartbreaking look at relations between the sexes played out weekly in dancehall set in middle of empty Irish fields; Bridey (Brenda Fricker), an old hand at the ballroom’s rituals of shabby romance, vows this night is her last – if the fellow she’s been encouraging wimps out again. Fricker is outstanding as large spirited woman dying slow death in emotional backwaters; Cyil Cusack, John Kavanagh, Niall Tobin. Also Attracta, dir. Kieran Hickey (1983), 55 mins.; a proper dedicated Protestant schoolteacher (Wendy Hiller) whos parents were killed by the old IRA, suddenly finds the beliefs that have underpinned her life called into questions when she reads about the horrific violence visited on the wife of a British soldier by the new IRA; descent into madness started by too much truth. [Report by Walter Reade Theatre].

[ top ]

Mary Lavin: Trevor wrote the obituary notice of Mary Lavin in the Guardian (26 March 1996). He himself has arranged to be buried in Co. Roscommon churchyard where his father and other family members are (see Fortnight, interview with Tom Adair.)

[ top ]

Taking the biscuit: waiting outside class-room during religious education in Catholic schools, a kindly nun giving him biscuits to help while away the time. (Cited in Declan Kiberd, ‘Demented Bachelors’, review of The Hill Bachelors, in London Review of Books, 8 March 2001, pp.30-31; presum. quoting 1999 biographical study and interview by Dolores McKenna.)

[ top ]

Namesake: Thomas Crosbie William Trevor, 22nd Baron Dacre, issued a pamphlet entitled The Case of oppressed Protestants in Ireland (1880), being a paper addressed to the members of the Loyal Orange Institution of England.

 

[ top ]