Last Stories

William Trevor. Viking, $26 (224p) ISBN 978-0-525-55810-1
This spare collection of 10 stories by the late Trevor (The Story of Lucy Gault) might be too bleak if its darkness weren’t skillfully counterbalanced by sly hints of humor and understated compassion. The stories are sharp and concise, containing whole lives in the span of just a few pages. The book as a whole has an elegiac tone, with death figuring heavily in many of the stories. Often, it’s death observed at a distance, as in “The Crippled Man,” in which two foreign painters speculate about the disappearance of one of the owners of the house they are painting, or “The Unknown Girl,” in which the former employer of a young woman killed crossing the street wonders whether she holds partial responsibility. Many of Trevor’s stories contemplate two interacting characters who have little in common, like the prostitute who pursues a picture-restorer whose memory is failing in “Giotto’s Angels,” or the very different widow and widower in “Mrs Crasthorpe.” The author keeps a distance from his characters, driven to incomprehensible actions by motives even they don’t understand. Readers familiar with Trevor, who died in 2016, will find satisfying closure, and those new to his work will find reason to go back and explore his previous books. (May)
Reviewed on: 03/19/2018
Release date: 05/15/2018
MP3 CD - 978-1-977355-13-3
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