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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.
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.
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.
Cheating at Canasta
William Trevor is a master of the short story. Within a few paragraphs I felt as if I knew the characters intimately. In each story there was always a feeling of anticipation - I never knew where the story would lead and in the end there was always a mystery of something undone or unexplained. I wanted the story to go on and on. This book would be great for book clubs because each story would create many discussions.
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.
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.
Cheating at Canasta
Twelve short stories, beautifully written. The author gives us a glimpse into the lives and thoughts of many diverse individuals, and we wonder "Why?" or "How could you?" I don't read short stories one after the other, but give each one time to settle. Lots of food for book group discussion here, I think. Just lovely.
Leaves You Wanting More
Many of the stories are open-ended leaving the reader to imagine what takes place after the written page ends. A writer’s job is to bring us into the stories they have written, and William Trevor certainly does that. I look forward to reading more of his work. The only problem I have with this book is that I wish many of stories were longer! But, alas, these are "short" stories. I’d love to read a full-length book about the characters in “The Dressmaker’s Child,” as well as “The Room.” What fascinating reads!