Autumn Reading: The Selected Stories of William Trevor

by Richard Brookhiser

I just finished the Selected Stories of William Trevor. I realized I had read one, “Bravado,” in The New Yorker; it was even better the second time around, which is a good sign.

Trevor has an amazing slugging percentage. I’d say he connects about a third of the time, but almost every hit is a home run. His style is almost austere, which makes one fear trailer park haiku (especially in The New Yorker). But he is suppler than that; the dialogue of Irishmen and women helps.

Most of the stories are set in Ireland, some in England. The range is quite wide: gentry, faded gentry, farmers, fishermen, servants, businessmen, Protestants, Catholics, clergymen, crooks, men and women, old and young. There isn’t much humor, though one of the funniest, “Child’s Play,” about two children of divorce, is also one of the most harrowing.

Run, do not walk, to get them.

The Corner

The one and only.