On first reading William Trevor…

What a thoroughly absorbing way to have lost all track of the violent, prolonged thunderstorm last evening!

I became instantly engaged, then completely immersed in William Trevor’s compact novel, MY HOUSE IN TUSCANY. 

 While I won’t ruin your own experience of the characters and plot, I must share with you the fact that the story’s structure holds and doesn’t let go.  Little, sequenced epiphanies pop into your eyes like raindrops and a doozy of a realization reminds you not to be fooled into imagining this story a simple escape. 

The book was first published in 1991.  The setting is Umbria in the late Eighties.  The impetus for the story is a terrorist-caused explosion on a train.  Suffice it to say that a post-911 reading adds another layer to the complexities of what the protagonst, “Mrs. Delahunty,” calls, the “outrage.”

Read this book.  Revel in its impeccable narrative voice.  See the meticulously described bodies, vistas, rooms.  Draw a breath at the suffering of the survivors (i.e.,  every character in the book, not just those who have escaped death on the train).  Enjoy the contrast between human attempts to endure and the neat simplicity of the romance-novel plots that “Mrs. Delahunty” contrives.

You can be sure I’ll be reading the rest of Trevor’s work this summer. 

I hope you will, too.

Best,

Mary

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3 thoughts on “On first reading William Trevor…

  1. Trevor’s best form is the short story. They are just perfect little gems, each one. He may be the greatest living short story writer. So glad you discovered him!

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