Selected Stories [NOOK Book]

Overview

Selected as one of The New York Times Book Review's 10 Best Books of the Year.

Four-time winner of the O. Henry Prize, three-time winner of the Whitbread Award, and five-time nominee for the Booker Prize, William Trevor is one of the most acclaimed authors of our era. Over a career spanning more than half a century, Trevor has crafted exquisitely rendered tales that brilliantly illuminate the human condition. A powerful collection by "the ...
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Selected Stories

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Overview

Selected as one of The New York Times Book Review's 10 Best Books of the Year.

Four-time winner of the O. Henry Prize, three-time winner of the Whitbread Award, and five-time nominee for the Booker Prize, William Trevor is one of the most acclaimed authors of our era. Over a career spanning more than half a century, Trevor has crafted exquisitely rendered tales that brilliantly illuminate the human condition. A powerful collection by "the greatest living writer of short stories in the English language" (The New Yorker), Selected Stories brings together forty-eight stories from After Rain, The Hill Bachelors, A Bit on the Side, and Cheating at Canasta.


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Editorial Reviews

Ron Hansen
Set mostly in England and Ireland, the 48 [stories] are wry, wistful, slice-of-life stories that have been likened to those of Anton Chekhov because of their acute observations, limpid prose and subtlety of presentation and their focus on neediness, loss and heartbreak. Though it may be heretical to say so, I think Trevor is superior to the good Russian doctor.
—The Washington Post
Charles McGrath
The title of this hefty volume is a little misleading. It doesn't select anything, strictly speaking, but merely assembles the stories from William Trevor's last four collections, so that in effect it's a sequel to the huge edition of his collected stories that came out in 1992. Together the two books add up to almost 2,000 pages of short fiction—an enormous, Kiplingesque quantity of work—and they are more than ample proof that Trevor is one of the two greatest short-story writers working in English right now. The other is Alice Munro, and no one else is even close.
—The New York Times
Library Journal
Gathering 48 stories originally appearing in four volumes, this follow-up collection to 1992's Collected Stories, Vol. 1 offers readers the luxury of immersing themselves in Trevor's unparalleled mastery of short fiction. Trevor's authorial humility and care for his characters and their lives is evident in each selection. Grand themes such as religious sensibility or grief from loss, to which Trevor returns again and again, reveal startling nuances and even more beautifully intricate textures when explored in the larger context of a collection. VERDICT If Vermeer wrote short stories, perhaps they would read like Trevor's, suffused as they are with light, clarity, and depth. This volume underscores Trevor's primary place in the pantheon of great short story writers and supports his status as one of the greatest literary artists of the modern era. His oeuvre suggests compelling connections and continuities among the work of de Maupassant, Chekhov, and Pritchett and that of the most gifted contemporary short story writers, including Nicola Barker and Anne Enright. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 7/10.]—J. Greg Matthews, Washington State Univ. Libs., Pullman
Kirkus Reviews

Sterling collection of short pieces by noted Irish writer Trevor (Love and Summer, 2009, etc.).

The author is a bard of quiet disappointments and muffled misunderstandings in small places, and often nothing much happens in his stories—just as nothing much happens in most people's lives. He is also a practitioner of the perfect, all-enfolding sentence, as with the opening of the opening story: "Violet married the piano tuner when he was a young man. Belle married him when he was old." You just know that there's a tale in between, and if it's set in a perfectly ordinary setting, that tale will be told without the grimness and ennui that have been in fashion in the short story in the post-Carver era. Some of his stories are anything but ordinary, as when a priest is taken by surprise by a man he has helped, only to be accused of long-ago improprieties: "a brain addled by recourse to methylated spirits," thinks said priest, "would naturally be blurred by now"—but all the same he caves in to the two-bit blackmail of a bleary bum, guiltless but still guilty. Priests often figure in these stories, which are, after all, mostly set in Ireland (or, when not, in Italy), and religious questions, often exceedingly minor, come into play. In one story, a Protestant boy relates the manifestation of a saint to a priest, who wonders idly why it couldn't have been a good Catholic boy to receive a sign of visitation: "Was it not enough that that march should occur every twelfth of July, that farmers from miles away should bang their way through the village just to show what was what, strutting in their get-up?"No, he learns, it's not enough, as just about everyone in these stories has to cope with the imponderables that life throws at them.

Arresting images and troubling questions—Trevor is a master.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781101476529
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 11/4/2010
  • Sold by: Penguin Group
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 576
  • Sales rank: 456,264
  • File size: 644 KB

Meet the Author

William Trevor
William Trevor is the author of fourteen novels and twelve collections of short stories, for which he has won many prizes, including the Whitbread Award, the Hawthornden Prize, and the Yorkshire Post Book of the Year Award. 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

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