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After Rain: Stories

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Overview

? Chosen by the editors of The New York Times Book Review as one of the eight best books of 1996, and by the Boston Globe as one of the six best books of fiction of 1996 ? Appeared on several bestseller lists, including The Boston Globe, Los Angeles Times, New York Newsday, San Francisco Chronicle, and The Village Voice Literary Supplement ? William Trevor was the recipient of a 1996 Lannan Literary Award for fiction ? Felicia's Journey, William Trevor's previous national bestseller, won England's prestigious Whitbread Fiction Prize and the ...

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After Rain: Stories

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Overview

? Chosen by the editors of The New York Times Book Review as one of the eight best books of 1996, and by the Boston Globe as one of the six best books of fiction of 1996 ? Appeared on several bestseller lists, including The Boston Globe, Los Angeles Times, New York Newsday, San Francisco Chronicle, and The Village Voice Literary Supplement ? William Trevor was the recipient of a 1996 Lannan Literary Award for fiction ? Felicia's Journey, William Trevor's previous national bestseller, won England's prestigious Whitbread Fiction Prize and the Sunday Express Prize. ? American Library Association Notable Book William Trevor has long been hailed as one of the greatest living writers of the short story. In this collection of twelve dazzling, acutely rendered tales, he once again plumbs the depths of the human heart. Here we meet a blind piano tuner whose wonderful memories of his first wife are cruelly distorted by his second; a woman in a difficult marriage who must chose between her indignant husband and her closest friend; two children, survivors of divorce, who mimic their parents? melodramas; a heartbroken woman traveling alone in Italy who experiences an epiphany studying a forgotten artist's Annunciation. Trevor is, in his own words, 'a storyteller. My fiction may, now and again, illuminate aspects of the human condition, but I do not consciously set out to do so.' Conscious or not, he touches us in ways that few writers even dare to try.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
There are few contemporary writers who can match the quiet dignity with which Trevor embues his writing, or his command of the short story form. After last year's remarkable novel, Felicia's Journey, he returns here to more mundane lives. These 12 tales stay well within the bounds of conventional storytelling: there are no fractured narratives or disjointed memories delivered solely for effect. Instead, each of these stories pursues a classic but effective structure: a thinly held equilibrium is disturbed, leading first to a general collapse, then to an emotional plateau in which something vital has changed. In "A Friendship," Francesca, an unhappy housewife, begins an affair with an old acquaintance. The liaison does not lead to the expected dissolution of her marriage but, instead, to a loss of another part of her life. In "The Potato Dealer," an unplanned pregnancy forces a young woman into a marriage of convenience with a middle-aged potato trader. Though never loving, the union achieves a type of friendship; a friendship that is then irrevocably broken by the revelation of secrets. The domestic vein of most of these stories is epitomized by "The Piano Tuner's Wives," in which a second marriage's competition with the first is handled with lyricism and a haunting simplicity, and by "Marrying Damian," in which a couple must struggle to accept their daughter's love affair with their friend, a middle-aged roustabout. Politics, too, finds its way into current lives. In "Lost Ground," the collection's longest tale, the troubles in Northern Ireland provide the impetus for a young boy's tragic death. Each of these stories is rendered with Trevor's characteristic economy. The deft handling of information, as well as the exquisite sense of control, again show Trevor as a brilliant master of his craft. (Oct.)
Library Journal
In the title story of this collection, Trevor says, "It was after rain that the angel came: those first cool moments were a chosen time." Each of these 12 stories have a chosen time. First, characters are introduceda blind piano tuner and his manipulative second wife, a gay man and the parents he resents, two children scarred by divorceand the rain in their relationships revealed. Then there is a moment of understanding. As in Trevor's latest (Felicia's Journey, LJ 12/94)a best seller that enhanced his oeuvre of 22 books, many of them prize winnerstension and the revelations that come with it are skillfully brought to the reader's attention. Some of these stories have been previously published in magazines, but all of them are well constructed and offer the reader insights into the nature of conflict and resolution. Essential for larger literary collections.Joshua Cohen, Mid-Hudson Lib. Sys., Poughkeepsie, N.Y.
The New Yorker
Trevor is probably the greatest living writer of short stories in the English language.
The Boston Globe
One of the finest writers now at work in our language...No writer practicing the form today moves with nimbler assurance than Trevor across such an impressive gamut of social and emotional connections.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780140258349
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 10/28/1997
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 536,185
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 7.76 (h) x 0.57 (d)

Meet the Author

William Trevor

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.

Biography

"William Trevor is an extraordinarily mellifluous writer, seemingly incapable of composing an ungraceful sentence," Brooke Adams once wrote in the New York Times Book Review. Hailed by the New Yorker as "probably the greatest living writer of short stories in the English language," Trevor has also written over a dozen acclaimed novels as well as several plays. His characters are often people whose desires have been unfulfilled, and who come to rely on various forms of self-deception and fantasy to make their lives bearable.

Trevor was born in 1928 to a middle-class, Protestant family in Ireland. After graduating from Trinity College with a degree in history, he attempted to carve out a career as a sculptor. He moved to England in 1954 and exhibited his sculptures there; he also wrote his first novel, A Standard of Behavior, which was published in 1958 but met with little critical success. His second novel, The Old Boys, won the 1964 Hawthornden Prize for Literature and marked the beginning of a long and prolific career as a novelist, short-story writer and playwright.

Three of Trevor's novels have won the prestigious Whitbread Novel of the Year Award: The Children of Dynmouth, Fools of Fortune and Felicia's Journey. Felicia's Journey, about a pregnant Irish girl who goes to England to find the lover who abandoned her, was adapted for the screen in 1999 by director Atom Egoyan. Trevor, who has described himself as a short-story writer who enjoys writing novels, has also written such celebrated short stories as "Three People," in which a woman who murdered her disabled sister harbors an unspoken longing for the man who provided her with an alibi, and "The Mourning," about a young man who is pressed by political activists into planting a bomb (both from The Hill Bachelors).

Some critics have noted a change in Trevor's work over the years: his early stories tend to contain comic sketches of England, while his later ones describe Ireland with the elegiac tone of an expatriate. Trevor, who now lives in Devon, England, has suggested that he has something of an outsider's view of both countries. "I feel a sense of freshness when I come back [to Ireland]," he said in a 2000 Irish radio interview. "If I lived in, say, Dungarvan or Skibbereen, I think I wouldn't notice things."

As it stands, Trevor is clearly a writer who notices things, just as one of his characters notices "the glen and the woods and the seashore, the flat rocks where the shrimp pools were, the room she woke up in, the chatter of the hens in the yard, the gobbling of the turkeys, her footsteps the first marks on the sand when she walked to Kilauran to school" (The Story of Lucy Gault). Yet as Trevor told an interviewer for The Irish Times, "You mustn't write about what you know. You must use your imagination. Fiction is an act of the imagination." Trevor's fertile imagination captures, as Alice McDermott wrote in The Atlantic, "the terrible beauty of Ireland's fate, and the fate of us all -- at the mercy of history, circumstance, and the vicissitudes of time."

Good To Know

When Trevor was growing up, he wanted to be a clerk in the Bank of Ireland -- following in the footsteps of his father, James William Cox. Cox's career as a bank manager took the family all over Ireland, and Trevor attended over a dozen different schools before entering Trinity College in Dublin.

Trevor married his college sweetheart, Jane Ryan, in 1952. After the birth of their first son, Trevor worked for a time as an advertising copywriter in London. He also sculpted and worked as an art teacher, but gave up his sculpting after it became "too abstract."

In addition to the 1999 film Felicia's Journey, two other movies have been based on Trevor's works: Fools of Fortune (1990), directed by Pat O'Connor, and Attracta (1983), directed by Kieran Hickey. According to Trevor's agent, the plays Reading Turgenev and My House in Umbria are also being adapted for the screen.

Trevor is also the author of several plays, most of which are not in print in the U.S. Works include Scenes from an Album, Marriages, and Autumn Sunshine.

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    1. Also Known As:
      William Trevor Cox (birth name)
    2. Hometown:
      Devon, England
    1. Date of Birth:
      May 24, 1928
    2. Place of Birth:
      Mitchelstown, County Cork, Ireland
    1. Education:
      Trinity College, Dublin, 1950

Table of Contents

The Piano Tuner's Wives
A Friendship
Timothy's Birthday
Child's Play
A Bit of Business
After Rain
Widows
Gilbert's Mother
The Potato Dealer
Lost Ground
A Day
Marrying Damian

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 22, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    After Rain is a stunning collection from a master of the short f

    After Rain is a stunning collection from a master of the short form. In these stories Trevor explores the themes of love, compromise, and above all loss, in its various forms. With his elegant and straightforward prose he treats us to all too real depictions of the inner life, and heartbreaking renderings of interpersonal relationships. For me "Lost Ground" is the masterpiece of this collection, though somewhat out of sync with the rest of the stories. Other highlights include "Timothy's Birthday" and "Gilbert's Mother", but every story here is well worth the read.

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