Friday, December 3, 2010

An Irish Favorite

I think we all have authors that we use as safety nets. We know they won't disappoint us, so when we're going on a trip, or anticipating a long wait or a boring commute, we take them along as a reliable companion. For me William Trevor is one of those safety nets.

First of all, he's Irish, and I'm a sucker for Irish writers. He's prolific, so he's easy to find in my favorite used book store. He's probably best known for his short stories, but his novels are also prize-winning. Last year I read and loved his latest novel “Love and Summer” (see my blog), so I picked up a used copy of his 1998 novel Death in Summer to take along on a trip.

Trevor's characters are never captains of industry or glamorous socialites. They live in small towns or on the fringe of society in big cities. In "Death in Summer" a young widower struggles to care for his infant daughter after the accidental death of his wife. But he is not the only character dealing with disappointment and sadness. The vulnerabilities of the characters seem to draw them to each other, leading to unexpected events. Trevor prose is spare, but it's not a quick read, because he unfolds his story in fragments.

Trevor is not an author for readers who like inspiring characters and uplifting endings. But once again he gave me haunting images of ordinary people touched by loss and by love.

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