Susan (Twain Harte CA)
Exploring the Human Condition
Here is a collection of well-written stories about human experiences, not the extremes of grand passion or physical violence, but the more subtle but very real feelings of alienation, frustration, grief, guilt, regret, suffering, distrust, and loneliness. Book clubs will find much to discuss, especially those groups with middle-aged or senior members, since most of the stories are about older people. Be forewarned that all of the stories are about the downside of relationships.
John (Garland TX)
I have not previously read any of William Trevor's works, nor do I normally enjoy short stories. Trevor's writing is intelligent and thought provoking. Many of the stories make you wish that they had been expanded upon in the form of a novel. They leave you wanting more.
Beverly (San Jose CA)
Cheating at Canasta by William Trevor
Trevor's main characters experience profound perceptions of self and situations that bring resolution/acceptance, slowly, ruefully. There is poetry in Trevor's prose -- graceful words and poignant, telling phrases.
From "The Children": "Connie and her father, while slowly coming to terms with the loss they had suffered, shared the awareness of a ghost that fleetingly demanded no more than to be remembered. Life continuing could not fold away what had happened but it offered something, blurring the drama of death's immediacy."
Serious readers are often avid people - watchers, curious about fears, desires, triumphs, loves, cruelties, betrayals: the human condition revealed. This isn't a book to be rushed through, but it is remarkable. I highly recommend it.
Elyse (Creswell OR)
Short stories are not usually my cup of tea, and after reading the first two in this book, I thought maybe this wasn't the book for me.
But as I read on, I changed my mind. The prose alone are enough reason to read it - the writing just flows beautifully. The author paints you a picture of place and time, and does a good job of showing who his characters are.
Most of the stories are more vignettes - no beginning and no end. Sort of a "slice of life". All of them leave you thinking.
This is not a book for someone who wants a simple plot, with a definite beginning, a predictable center and a satisfying ending. This is for the reader who prefers to savor each word, and think about what he or she just read when the book has been put down.
Georganne (Tampa FL)
Great writer, great writing
I've read the author's work before in the form of novels and the occasional short story. At first his ambiguous endings may be off putting, but as you grow used to his style and immerse yourself in his flawless writing you start to enjoy the thoughts and feelings each story provokes. There are many ways to approach each character's dilemma and Mr. Trevor leaves it to you to explore. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, although I can see that someone who prefers more specifics and a more definite ending might not. It seems to be an ideal candidate for a book club, as each story could result in much discussion. I would say if you like these short stories, but want more, try one of his novels, i.e., Felicia's Journey, or Death in Summer.
Kathy (Coral Gables FL)
Great Stories of Daily Life
I enjoyed all the stories in this book. Each story shows you make decisions everyday, and how these decisions lead to another and effective you at some point in your life. No matter how big or little.
Valerie (Chico CA)
Portrait of Our Humanity
William Trevor's collections of short stories reveals the dark side present in all of us. Leaving the scene of an accident, lying, cheating on spouses are temptations many are faced with during their lifetime. Trevor portrays their humanity with empathy. This collection is a very enjoyable and insightful read.