Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Obituary Note: William Trevor

Shelf Awareness

Internationally acclaimed author William Trevor, "whose mournful, sometimes darkly funny short stories and novels about the small struggles of unremarkable people placed him in the company of masters like V. S. Pritchett, W. Somerset Maugham and Chekhov," died November 20, the New York Times reported. He was 88. Irish by birth but a longtime resident of Britain, Trevor "placed his fiction squarely in the middle of ordinary life. His plots often unfolded in Irish or English villages whose inhabitants, most of them hanging on to the bottom rung of the lower middle class, waged unequal battle with capricious fate."

His many books include William Trevor: The Collected Stories; Fools of Fortune; Love and Summer; After Rain; Felicia's Journey; Two Lives; and The News from Ireland.
The Guardian noted that Trevor, who published "more than 15 novels and many more short stories, was shortlisted for the Man Booker prize four times, most recently for The Story of Lucy Gault in 2002, the same year he was awarded an honorary knighthood for his services to literature. He also won the Whitbread prize three times."

Irish author Roddy Doyle told the Irish Times: "The man--the work--was brilliant, elegant, surprising, reliable, precise, stark, often sad, sometimes funny, shocking and even frightening. His big houses were great; his small ones were wonderful too. The angst was bang-on, and so were all the other emotions and states. Every word mattered, every sentence was its own big house."
John Banville said: "William Trevor was one of the great short-story writers, at his best the equal of Chekhov and Babel. But we should also celebrate his novels, in particular Mrs. Eckdorf in O'Neill's Hotel, an inexplicably neglected twentieth-century masterpiece. His prose style was so subtle as to seem hardly a style at all, and his sympathy for, an empathy with, life's wounded ones was sincere and affecting. His death is a heavy loss to Irish letters and to world literature."
Kathryn Court, president and publisher, Penguin Books, commented: "William Trevor was a truly brilliant writer, and one of the most compassionate human beings I have worked with. He has left us a wonderful legacy."

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