SUMMARY Û The Collected Stories

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SUMMARY Û The Collected Stories À The Collected Stories a stunning volume of William Trevor's unforgettable short storiesWilliam Trevor is one of the most renowned figures in contemporary literature described as 'the greatest living writer of short stories in the English language' by the New Yorker and acclaimed for his haunting and profound insightThe Collected Stories a stunning volume of William Trevor's unforgettable short storiesWilliam Trevor is one of the most renowned figures in contemporary literature described as 'the greatest living writer of short stories in the English language' by the New Yorker and acclaimed for his haunting and profound insights into the human heart Here. A short story Probably one’s life is just an anthology of short storiesI am writing this in the drawing room in fact at Mrs Ashburton’s writing desk I don’t think of it as a story – and certainly not as a letter for she can never read it – but as a record of what happened in her house after the war If she hadn’t talked to me so much when I was nine there would not be this record to keep and I would not still feel her presence I do not understand what has happened but as I slowly move towards the age she was when she talked to me I slowly understand a little What she said has haunted me for thirty nine years It has made me old before my time and for this I am glad I feel like a woman of sixty; I’m only forty eightMost of all William Trevor reminds me of Anton Chekhov – he possesses the same uniue ability to penetrate all the psychological subtleties of his characters and convey them to paper with a hand of a distinctive masterThis exhaustive collection of his stories boasts a really monumental range Like life itself

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A modern master'A textbook for anyone who ever wanted to write a story and a treasure for anyone who loves to read them' Madison Smartt Bell'Extraordinary Mr Trevor's sheer intensity of entry into the lives of his peopleproceeds to uncover new layers of yearning and pain new angles of vision and credible thought' The New York Times Book Revie. First of all let me begin by saying that William Trevor was probably not a human being but a machine which could print masterpieces Although this book is a collection of all his stories it reads a lot like a selection In the entire 1260 pages there were only two stories that I found weak and a very large number that I found to be groundbreaking masterpieces Trevor is definitely a writer at the same level of the greatest short story writers of all time along with giants like O Henry Chekhov Hemingway Carver or Mansfield While I really love Alice Munro I’d give Nobel to Trevor in a heartbeat over her This man is a giantSecondly although you can find a common theme in all of Trevor’s stories – loneliness betrayal secrets that people keep denial – and create an idea of what a Trevor like story is like – usually a plain looking protagonist embarks on a deceptively ordinary life until the complex and extraordinary truth behind it is revealed – there is a very wide variety of characters and plots and styles reading this gigantic book never gets boring and repetitive I think all of Trevor’s stories are ultimately about the extraordinary nature of ordinary life but this extraordinary aspect reveals itself sometimes in a single sentence in seemingly plotless stories about a couple arriving at the wrong destination or a woman seducing a man among a group of tourists in Isfahan or the extraordinary might reveal itself in the form of a psychopathic child or an abusive mother or maybe in the scene of a murder Another common theme is the fallibility of our judgments and presumptions and many stories tell the tale of the disillusionment of those false presumptions being shatteredOverall a very small number of writers have the extreme depth and perception of Trevor when it comes to human psychology in all its complexity While historical and political and cultural forces sometimes penetrate the world of these stories – especially the problem of Irish civil war – mostly the stories remain at the level of an individual epic or tragedy giving Trevor a universal taste sorely missing in writers since great classicsIt took me from February to October to finish this book During this time it became a part of my life Its stories will continue to haunt you and color the way you perceive the world I know that I will be returning to these storiesWilliam Trevor beyond doubt is one of the greatest giants of literature not only of our time but ever I can see his stories being taught in school four hundred years from now

William Trevor Ç 1 SUMMARY

The Collected StoriesIs a collection of his short fiction with dozens of tales spanning his career and ranging from the moving to the macabre the humorous to the haunting From the penetrating 'Memories of Youghal' to the bittersweet 'Bodily Secrets' and the elegiac 'Two More Gallants' here are masterpieces of insight depth drama and humanity acutely rendered by. Over the years I’ve derived so much enjoyment from short stories in some ways my favourite literary genre alongside the critical essay I really began when I was little with myths and folktales a tradition for which I still retain considerable affection By the age of ten or so I was reading Edgar Allan Poe’s Tales of Mystery and Imagination From there in successive stages I discovered such wonderful story tellers as William Somerset Maugham his Far Eastern stories are a particular favourite Isaac Bashevis Singer a magician in words Nikolai Gogol my favourite Russian writer in the medium Graham Greene who writes extensively in this genre though he is better known as a novelist Anton Chekhov Alphonse Daudet James Joyce Ambrose Bierce Franz Kafka H H Munro better known as ‘Saki’ William Porter better known as ‘O Henry’ along with so many others including Balzac and Dickens not generally associated with this literary form Now I’ve discovered William Trevor an Irish writer having not long finished The Collected Stories published by Penguin Books I suppose it’s not uite true to say that his work is a totally new discovery because I came across him previously one story I think in an anthology of Irish writing but not enough to form a proper impression Now I have and there is no doubt in my mind that he will last as one of the great masters of the medium He writes with such amazing fluency beautiful limpid prose with a simple realism that reminds me so much of Chekhov His work is rich in gentle irony with slight overtones of sadness of empty lives and frustrated hopes His stories are mostly set in England or Ireland often among the most marginal people those on the edges of society people often buffeted by an uncertain fate unsure of who they are and where they are going Yes there are elements of pathos and melancholy offset uite often by an undercurrent of humour This is the thing about life something the best writers have always understood comedy is never that far removed from tragedy Some of his female characters caused me to laugh out loud at points including the impossible Mrs da Tanka in A Meeting in Middle Age the first in the collection who teams up with the unfortunate Mr Mileson a sort of agency detective in a hotel together to spend the night thereby providing grounds for a divorce in the days when such matters were complicated Yes they team up together in a way that a lion teams up with a gazelle In general Trevor shapes characters in complexity or simplicity who are totally believable He is there as a narrator as a third presence only in the lightest possible way He does not ‘create’ his people; he allows them to create themselves to build themselves up through their own words and actions There is little in the way of a narrator’s prologue; this is life unfolding as we go along as fate works away The language the use of words is uite delicious precise beautiful simple and elegant There is nothing in the least artificial about Trevor’s prose style which has directness and a sense of realism that I so admire largely free of a tangled undergrowth of adjectives something that only the very best writers can command For the most part these are small and intimate dramas not covering a huge range of possible situations and yet paradoxically immense In over eighty stories at no point did I feel that I was going over the same ground each situation seemed uniue and fresh Did I have any favourites Well yes I suppose I did though I find it immensely difficult to make a distinction in that having favourites seems to suggest that those not selected were somehow less worthy At over 1200 pages long this is a compendium of favourites I should make special mention though of Beyond the Pale where a woman is confronted with the tragedy of Irish history confronted by a legacy of love loss and terrible bitterness The tale she tells destroys a lying idyll And then there is Matilda’s England a story in three parts an enchanting and poignant narrative of time and tide and fortune of happy highways where people went and can never come again I sit here in here now in her drawing room and may perhaps become as old as she was Sometimes I walk up to the meadows where the path to school was but the meadow isn’t there any There are rows of coloured caravans and motor cars and shacks In the garden I can hear the voices of people drifting down to me and the sound of music from their wireless sets Nothing is like it wasThis is immediately followed by Torridge uite different in tone with a bitingly humorous ending one that completely dismantles the comforting illusions of a nauseatingly self satisfied group of old school chums These are just a few examples I could go on and on but there is really not much point I can really only pay proper tribute to Trevor by retelling his tales one by one You can do justice if you are minded to in reading them for yourselves