Summary and book reviews of Love and Summer by William Trevor

Love and Summer

A Novel

by William Trevor

Love and Summer
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Sep 2009, 224 pages
    Paperback:
    Oct 2010, 224 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Marnie Colton

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About this Book

Book Summary

In his characteristically masterly way, Trevor evokes the passions and frustrations of the people of a small Irish town during one long summer.

It’s summer and nothing much is happening in Rathmoye. So it doesn’t go unnoticed when a dark-haired stranger appears on his bicycle and begins photographing the mourners at Mrs. Connulty’s funeral. Florian Kilderry couldn’t know that the Connultys are said to own half the town: he has only come to Rathmoye to photograph the scorched remains of its burnt-out cinema.

A few miles out in the country, Dillahan, a farmer and a decent man, has married again: Ellie is the young convent girl who came to work for him when he was widowed. Ellie leads a quiet, routine life, often alone while Dillahan runs the farm.

Florian is planning to leave Ireland and start over. Ellie is settled in her new role as Dillahan’s wife. But Florian’s visit to Rathmoye introduces him to Ellie, and a dangerously reckless attachment begins.

In a characteristically masterly way Trevor evokes the passions and frustrations felt by Ellie and Florian, and by the people of a small Irish town during one long summer.

1.

On a June evening some years after the middle of the last century Mrs Eileen Connulty passed through the town of Rathmoye: from Number 4 The Square to Magennis Street, into Hurley Lane, along Irish Street, across Cloughjordan Road to the Church of the Most Holy Redeemer. Her night was spent there.


The life that had come to an end had been one of good works and resolution, with a degree of severity in domestic and family matters. The anticipation of personal contentment, which had long ago influenced Mrs Connulty’s acceptance of the married state and the bearing of two children, had since failed her: she had been disappointed in her husband and in her daughter. As death approached, she had feared she would now be obliged to join her husband and prayed she would not have to. Her daughter she was glad to part from; her son — now in his fiftieth year, her pet since first he lay in her arms as an infant — Mrs Connulty had wept to leave behind.


...

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!
Introduction
It's summer in Rathmoye in the 1950s and in the hush of the funeral for Mrs. Connulty, a stranger appears, surreptitiously taking photographs of the burial and the bereaved. Afterward, Florian Kilderry, who has come to town to take pictures of the burned down movie house, quietly slips away—unnoticed by all but Ellie Dillahan. That moment is the beginning of a relationship whose effects will ripple outward from the two young lovers into the lives of other citizens of Rathmoye. William Trevor's Love and Summer is the exquisite rendering of one languid summer in that small town, an evocative exploration of love, memory, responsibility, and remorse. It's a stunning display of the emotional subtlety and ...
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Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

Anyone drawn to the title and expecting a Nicholas Sparks/Bridges of Madison County-style romance should approach with caution, but those who appreciate exquisitely paced narratives and keen emotional insights will relish this bracing examination of love and its limits.   (Reviewed by Marnie Colton).

Full Review Members Only (606 words).

Media Reviews

The New York Times - Thomas Mallon

[T]here is no corpse in the basement, no bomb lies hidden in any drawer—but even so, a reader will have his heart in his mouth for the last 50 pages. And when that heart settles back down, it will be broken and satisfied…a thrilling work of art.

The Washington Post

Everyone, as Trevor knows so well, has a story. No character in this book goes unnoticed; no one is forgotten. For those readers who have loved the generosity and beauty of Trevor's work (he has written 27 books of fiction), Love and Summer will be one more entry into a world that is both heart-breaking and deeply fulfilling.

The Seattle Times

...jewel-like... I found myself wishing that the Rathmoye summer would never end.

Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Trevor renders the fictional town of Rathmoye with the precise detail of a photograph, while his portrait of its inhabitants is more subtle and painterly, suggesting their interwoven secrets, respectful traditions and stoic courtesy.

Kirkus Reviews

Starred Review. An archetypal Irish love story and a perfect novel - sweet, desperate, sad, unforgettable.

Library Journal

Starred Review. This is another masterly work from one of our greatest contemporary novelists.

The Guardian (UK)

While not perhaps the author writing at the height of his powers, there is much to admire and much for the heart and mind to seize on in this subtly pointed work. It lingers in the memory as a beautiful meditation on love, belonging and the impossibility of escape...

Reader Reviews

AKASH

Awesome book by awesome novelist
Can't bound this perfect love story in my words just a sweet story with a sad and desperate flow and unforgettable end......

Jerry

Trevor is Terrific
What a great writer William Trevor is! His prose is restrained and captures the unique patterns of a vanishing Irish culture. This may not be as good as "The Story of Lucy Gault," but Trevor always has a way of pulling at the reader's heart...   Read More

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Beyond the Book

An Irish Lexicography
When reading Love and Summer, American readers will encounter many Irish words and phrases with which they may not be familiar. What follows is a list of some of these, highlighted within a sentence from the book, along with the accompanying definition. Definitions come from the Oxford English Dictionary (OED).

1. By the time the stairs had been hoovered, tea-towels hung up to dry and the daily girl sent home, it was evening.(8)

Vaccuumed (used throughout the British Isles).

2. 'I'm sorry,' she said, turning to face him. 'Arrah, it doesn't matter' (18).

An expletive expressing emotion or excitement, common in Anglo-Irish speech.

3. He hadn't noticed the ring he saw when he looked for it now - so skimpy, so ...

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