cover image Excursions in the Real World: Memoirs

Excursions in the Real World: Memoirs

William Trevor. Alfred A. Knopf, $23 (200pp) ISBN 978-0-679-43029-2

Prolific novelist and short-story writer Trevor ( Two Lives ) here presents an autobiography consisting of 29 vignettes--a number of which have appeared in print before. He relates how it felt to grow up Protestant in ``de Valera's new Catholic Ireland,'' where he was born in 1928. We participate in his childhood adventures with Henry O'Reilly, ``the laziest man in Ireland,'' and the poor, tortured family maid, Kitty, who had ``stormy'' teeth. We also meet Miss Quirke, the omniscient teacher, who, a dreamer, ``deserved the Champs-Elysees,'' and the headmaster known as ``the Bull,'' who had a great suspicion about men in semi-clerical dress. The memoir is filled with wonderful reminiscences about Dublin and Trevor's undergraduate days at Trinity College, where studies never got in the way of whoring with ``the last of the night ladies--the best remembered a one-legged dressmaker from Cabra.'' We are also escorted to the swinging London of the '60s, and to decadent New York City in Watergate-drenched 1973 America. The author's sharp eye for people and events, subtleties and blandness, make this a charming read. (Feb.)