Sunday, 16 August 2009

Book of the Week - William Trevor, Love and Summer

William Trevor has been shortlisted four times for the Booker Prize, and Love and Summer, which has just been published, is on this year's longlist. Trevor was born in Mitchelstown, County Cork, in the Republic of Ireland on 24 May 1928. He was educated at St Columba's College, County Dublin, and Trinity College, Dublin. He worked briefly as a teacher, and later as a copywriter in an advertising agency before he began to work full-time as a writer in 1965. He was also a sculptor and exhibited frequently in Dublin and London. His first novel, A Standard of Behaviour, was published in 1958. His fiction, set mainly in Ireland and England, ranges from black comedies characterised by eccentrics and sexual deviants to stories exploring Irish history and politics, and he articulates the tensions between Irish Protestant landowners and Catholic tenants in what critics have termed the 'big house' novel. He is the acclaimed author of several collections of short stories, and has adapted a number of his own stories for the stage, television and radio. The Children of Dynmouth (1976) and Fools of Fortune (1983) both won the Whitbread Novel Award, and Felicia's Journey (1994), the story of a young Irish girl who becomes the victim of a sexual sociopath, won both the Whitbread Book of the Year and the Sunday Express Book of the Year awards. Trevor currently lives in Devon, in South West England.

"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 were said to own half the town; and, in any case, he had come to Rathmoye only to see the scorched remains of the cinema. But Mrs Connulty's daughter, liberated at last by the death of her imperious mother, resolves to keep an eye on Florian Kilderry, and it's she who comes to witness the events that follow. A few miles out in the country a farmer called Dillahan lives with the knowledge that he was accidentally responsible for the deaths of his wife and baby. He has married again: Ellie is the young convent girl who came to work for him when he was widowed. But she falls in love with Florian and though he plans to leave Ireland, a dangerously reckless attachment develops between them . 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."

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