Fools of Fortune

Fools of Fortune


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Penguin Classics is proud to welcome William Trevor—"Ireland’s answer to Chekhov" (The Boston Globe) and "one of the best writers of our era" (The Washington Post)—to our distinguished list of literary masters. In this award-winning novel, an informer’s body is found on the estate of a wealthy Irish family shortly after the First World War, and an appalling cycle of revenge is set in motion. Led by a zealous sergeant, the Black and Tans set fire to the family home, and only young Willie and his mother escape alive. Fatherless, Willie grows into manhood while his alcoholic mother’s bitter resentment festers. And though he finds love, Willie is unable to leave the terrible injuries of the past behind.
  • First time in Penguin Classics

  • Winner of the Whitbread Novel of the Year Award

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780143039624
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 04/25/2006
Series: Penguin Classics Series
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 351,827
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 7.70(h) x 0.58(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

William Trevor was born in Mitchelstown, County Cork, and spent his childhood in provincial Ireland. He studied at Trinity College, Dublin. He 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, and The Story of Lucy Gault, which was shortlisted for both the Man Booker Prize and the Whitbread Fiction Prize. 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 appeared regularly in The New Yorker. In 1997, he was named Honorary Commander of the British Empire.


Devon, England

Date of Birth:

May 24, 1928

Place of Birth:

Mitchelstown, County Cork, Ireland


Trinity College, Dublin, 1950

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"William Trevor at his best." —The New York Times

"Arresting, powerful, and indelible. A story of courage and love... as tender and wistful as an Irish lament." —The Washington Post

Customer Reviews

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Fools of Fortune 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
bcquinnsmom on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Set in Ireland, the story is told in different voices: the main ones those of Willie Quinton, and his cousin, Marianne. Willie tells his story in kind of an unwritten letter format, looking back over the years. The same is true of Marianne.The story that follows is tragic. But after reading The Story of Lucy Gault, I'm beginning to wonder if maybe William Trevor is able to write anything but tragedy. Willie tells of the years of his childhood, which was tragically interrupted after his mother and father became involved in the cause for Irish independence from Britain after WWI. It was at that time that a group known as the Black & Tans came in to Ireland from England.minor digression:Back to the internet I went for more help with Irish history and found that the Black and Tans were mostly former soldiers sent to Ireland by the government in London after 1918 to assist the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) in its work against those who pressed for independence, usually violently.back to the storyline:Anyway, without giving away the show, the peaceful childhood life enjoyed by Willie is interrupted having to do with the conflict between the IRA and the Black and Tans. He goes on to the school his father had attended; and it is then that he meets his cousin Marianne for the first time. It was love at first sight. At their next meeting tragedy strikes which affects both Willie & Marianne and the rest of the family.Fools of fortune is really about the sad legacy of the troubled times in Ireland; it is about obsession & justice. While it may be a very quick & easy read, don't let that fool you. The book is quite complex.If you are at all interested in Irish history, you will enjoy this book. Plus, William Trevor is a great story teller, leading me to want to grab up everything this man has written.
pdebolt on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a beautifully written, haunting novel that shows the dominance of the past over the present. One horribly wrong decision sets into motion a chain of events that culminates in destruction that endures for generations. It is also a story of enduring love and the consequences of that love. Willliam Trevor is a consummate writer.
Bibliofilo More than 1 year ago
Although this is not Trevor's best novel, it is well written and analyzes very well the pathos of the era. If one is interested in literature that deals with the local mores in general or with Irish culture in particular, this is a book to have.