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William Trevor

In the NYT, Charles McGrath has an excellent review of William Trevor's Selected Stories that captures many of the aspects of Trevor's writing that I admire (and, I now realize, emulate in my own writing) - the avoidance of simile ("Nothing in a Trevor story is 'like' something else; things are what they are.") and topical cultural references ("A mention of Madonna in the story 'The Dressmaker’s Child' is so surprising that you have to read the sentence twice to be sure it’s not the other Madonna, the one in all the paintings."), as well as a distinctly timeless quality that McGrath captures perfectly:

Trevor’s prose has a precise, well-made solidness that is itself a kind of protest against change. These are stories that wear well and will never go out of fashion because they were never entirely fashionable to begin with.

Trevor is no "kid of the moment", which means he'll never be immensely popular with either the tastemakers or the general reading public, but will also never seem dated. I strongly suspect he'll still be fondly read a hundred years from now, which is more than you can say for most of the popular writers of, say, 1910.

November 28, 2010 in Books | Permalink

Comments

I've tried reading William Trevor, but I just don't engage. I like the voice, but the stories may be too quiet for me. (Probably they are too subtle for me is what it is.)

Posted by: Paul Lamb at Nov 29, 2010 5:30:09 AM