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Trevor, William

short irish ireland characters

(Irish, 1928– )

A highly respected short-story writer, novelist, and editor, Trevor has received numerous literary prizes and is a member of the Irish Academy of Letters. His work features the seemingly ordinary, explored from an off-beat angle. His characters are often eccentric or borderline psychopaths. In his novel Felicia's Journey (1994), now a film, Hilditch preys on the pregnant Felicia who has lately stepped off the boat from Ireland to search for her feckless boyfriend. In Hilditch, Trevor creates a penetrating psychological portrayal of a serial killer, whilst writing with a lyricism that prevents simple genre classification. Death in Summer (1998) deals with emotionally stunted characters, Thaddeus and Pettie. Their capacity for doing good or ill is almost arbitrarily based on the chance presence or absence of love. Trevor's account of Pettie's obsession with Thaddeus does not permit the reader the comfort of smugness. In the short story, Trevor's skill lies in the astute economy of his prose: a character can be revealed in one sentence. The collection The News from Ireland (1986) reveals Trevor's intimacy with Irish and English culture, picking up the nuances of hierarchy in an Irish town or the recognition of an unbridgeable gap between an English father and daughter. After Rain (1996, short stories) covers familiar territory between England, Ireland, and Italy, illuminating the foibles and appetites of his characters with quiet compassion, and the novella Reading Turgenev (1991) is one of the most beautiful in the language.

Elizabeth Bowen, John Banville. See IRELAND, SHORT STORIES  TO

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