Trevor, William

William Trevor Cox (24 May 1928 – 20 November 2016) Irish, short story writer, playwright and novelist, was known by his pen name William Trevor. I was first introduced to Trevor by my good friend Rosie, who decleared he was the best short story writer she had ever read. I couldn’t resist such a tag, and shortly bought my first collection of his short stories in 1995.

His stories typical feature those who have been marginalised, who in the face of harsh or uncaring realities, take solace in fantasies and alternative worlds. Influenced by both James Joyce, Charles Dickens and Chekhov, his stories are set in Ireland and England. The political tension between Protestant and Catholic is regularly explored. Wry humour, macabre elements, unreliable or eccentric narrators, decaying institutions and the manifestation of grace are themes he returns to often. Non-happy endings are his forte.

I’ve read most of his short stories and many of his novel pre-blog, but there are still many more to go. Including a memoir, Excursions in the Real World (Hutchinson, 1993).

Novels and novellas

  • A Standard of Behaviour (Hutchinson, 1958)
  • The Old Boys (Bodley Head, 1964)
  • The Boarding House (Bodley Head, 1965)
  • The Love Department (Bodley Head, 1966)
  • Mrs Eckdorf in O’Neill’s Hotel (Bodley Head, 1969)
  • Miss Gomez and the Brethren (Bodley Head, 1971)
  • Elizabeth Alone (Bodley Head, 1973)
  • The Children of Dynmouth (Bodley Head, 1976)
  • The Distant Past (Poolbeg Press, 1979)
  • Other People’s Worlds (Bodley Head, 1980)
  • Fools of Fortune (Bodley Head, 1983)
  • Nights at the Alexandra (Hutchinson, 1987)
  • The Silence in the Garden (Bodley Head, 1988)
  • Two Lives (the two novellas Reading Turgenev and My House in Umbria) (Viking Press, 1991)
  • Felicia’s Journey (Viking, 1994) Read pre-blog
  • Death in Summer (Viking, 1998) Read pre-blog
  • The Story of Lucy Gault (Viking, 2002) Read pre-blog
  • Love and Summer (Viking, 2009)
  • The Dressmaker’s Child (Penguin Books)

My William Trevor short story list can be find here.

  • The Collected Stories (Bodley Head, 1992) Read pre-blog
  • Selected Stories (Viking, 2009)
  • Last Stories (Viking, 2018)

In 2023 Kim & Cathy are hosting A Year With William Trevor. I plan to read or reread the short stories Kim & Cathy have chosen, plus some of the seasonal ones that might fit in with other reading challenges throughout the year.

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