Thursday, February 25, 2010

Love and Trevor

You must know, you from the ether catching these digital blips, that I love William Trevor

The problem is that love is a loaded, overused word. Worship did cross my mind but that is another ornament from the cliché box. Better love than worship - cliché-wise.

I was introduced to Trevor through this New Yorker fiction podcast (Jhumpa Lahiri reads 'A Day', a short story by William Trevor.) I found the story so riveting, so moving. Subsequently I have been steadily working my way through the William Trevor canon, finding, with every new story or novel of his, such brilliance, compassion and insight that I cannot but read more and read again. 

Last year, after having read only a few of his short story collections, I decided I wanted to read one of his novels. I chose The Story of Lucy Gault because it was convenient, having earlier spotted it at a book sale and instantly acquiring it for my library. That the novel would be the most wrenching one I had ever read was something I did not anticipate. Trevor does something magical with his sentences - they are not ostentatious; theirs is a graceful beauty, of every word, every phrase joining hands to bring life alive. Many times, after being shaken or moved by a pivotal point in the narrative, I have gone back to read earlier passages to see how he set it up. The truth is his devices are so masterful that his narratives are seamless. 

This morning, as I turned to read the last page of Love and Summer, containing the two and a half lines that would complete the book, I realized that I did not feel sad that the book was read. Instead I was filled with gratitude that such a book had been written. 

Pureness of Prose. 

Sheer Understated Brilliance.

A Master.

PS: I've been excited ever since The Collected Stories of William Trevor came out. Somehow I forgot to buy a copy until a friend sent me a note to say she saw the book in her library and immediately thought of me. Moments after reading her message I placed an order. The book will arrive in a week or so. I am looking forward to March and the rest of my life. There's pretty good company.