‘In nearly all Trevor’s stories,’ wrote V.S. Pritchett almost four decades ago, ‘we are led on at first by plain unpretending words about things done to prosaic people; then comes this explosion of conscience, the assertion of will which in some cases may lead to hallucination and madness.’ Even here, in this collection drawing together those final stories left after William Trevor’s death in 2016, the same method holds true. Take ‘The Crippled Man’, the second piece of ten. It begins with an exchange between an older Irishman and two foreign workmen in the kitchen of a crumbling smallholding in County Kildare about the possibility of their painting his house. There could be no more homespun opening than the question of price based on one coat or two while a black cat pounces on pieces of bark fallen from firewood.
Geordie Williamson reviews 'Last Stories' by William Trevor
Read the rest of this article by subscribing to ABR Online for as little as $10 a month. We offer a range of subscription options, including print, which can be found by clicking here. If you are already a subscriber, enter your username and password in the ‘Log In’ section in the top right-hand corner of the screen. If you require assistance, contact us or consult the Frequently Asked Questions page.
Geordie Williamson is a Picador publisher and the author of The Burning Library: Our greatest novelists lost and found (2011).
By this contributor
Leave a comment
Please note that all comments must be approved by ABR and comply with our Terms & Conditions.
NB: If you are an ABR Online subscriber or contributor, you will need to login to ABR Online in order to post a comment. If you have forgotten your login details, or if you receive an error message when trying to submit your comment, please email your comment (and the name of the article to which it relates) to email@example.com. We will review your comment and, subject to approval, we will post it under your name.