William Trevor, original name William Trevor Cox, (born May 24, 1928, Mitchelstown, County Cork, Ireland—died November 20, 2016, Somerset, England), Irish writer who was noted for his wry and often macabre short stories and novels.
In 1950 Trevor graduated from Trinity College Dublin, and he subsequently began teaching in Northern Ireland and working as a sculptor. In 1954 he moved to England, where he initially taught art. He later settled in London, and in the early 1960s he worked as an advertising copywriter. During this time Trevor began publishing novels and short stories. A Standard of Behaviour, his first novel, was published in 1958 to little fanfare. However, his next book, The Old Boys (1964), earned critical acclaim and was the recipient of Britain’s Hawthornden Prize. Its success led Trevor to move to Devon, England, and write full time.
Trevor’s subsequent novels include The Boarding-House (1965), Mrs. Eckdorf in O’Neill’s Hotel (1969), Elizabeth Alone (1973), The Children of Dynmouth (1976), and Fools of Fortune (1983). The latter two both won the Whitbread Literary Award for novels. In addition, Felicia’s Journey (1994) was named the Whitbread Book of the Year. Reading Turgenev (1991) and The Story of Lucy Gault (2002) were both short-listed for the Booker Prize. His last novel, Love and Summer, was published in 2009.
Trevor also wrote a number of highly acclaimed collections of short stories, notably The Day We Got Drunk on Cake, and Other Stories (1967); The Ballroom of Romance, and Other Stories (1972), which became a modern classic and was made into an award-winning television play in 1982; Angels at the Ritz, and Other Stories (1975); The Hill Bachelors (2000); and Cheating at Canasta (2007). These are typically bleak tales featuring moments of reckoning in which characters can no longer seek refuge in the fantasies and illusions that had previously made their lives bearable.
A number of works by Trevor were adapted for the screen, most notably Felicia’s Journey, the film version of which was directed by Atom Egoyan and released in 1999. Influenced by the writings of James Joyce and Charles Dickens, Trevor possessed a keen skill for characterization and irony. His works for the most part focused on the psychology of eccentrics and outcasts. In 2002 he received the Irish PEN Award for outstanding contribution to Irish literature.
'This is an indispensable guide to the very best Irish fiction. Superb.'Yorkshire Post 'a wealth of good reading'Sunday Mail, Australia 'This marvelous anthology, one of the best of recent years, contains a whopping 46 stories. They tell their brutalized country's sad stories with such force and fascination that we cannot hear too many of them.'Bruce Allen, Chicago Sun-Times 'This splendidly produced volume is full of good yarns'Borehamwood & Radlett Advertiser 'this hardback publication is a wonderful anthology of works which illustrate the unique tradition of Ireland's story tellers ... a book which can be picked up for a five minutes read of a single short tale, while others in the selection take longer to achieve their effect ... But throughout, you will find stories whose entertainment stems from that traditional Irish ability to reflect the rich tapestry of life with subtlety, warmth and humour.'Ethel Clark, Windsor & East Berks Observer 'William Trevor has put together a lovely cross-section of the human emotions and, though the settings are Irish, the appeal is universal. Well done Oxford University Press and William Trevor. This great river of a book will, I am sure, run and run and run.'Features & Arts, World Service in English Book Talks 'marvellous new collection ... This collection should stand as a classic, bringing together a wide, rich, and catholic selection of Irish short stories'Mary Kenny, Catholic Herald 'dazzlingly rich and absorbing selection'Hermione Lee, Observer 'The stories have a pleasing continuity despite their broad timespan'Alan Taylor, Glasgow Herald 'a thoughtful selection'Magazine 'a delightful collection'Oxford Times 'This marvelous anthology, one of the best of recent years, contains a whopping 46 stories.'Chicago Sun-Times 'outstanding collection compiled by one of the great contemporary Irish masters'Booklist 'an extremely handsome book ... much credit must go to William Trevor for his careful and classic collection which focuses attention on the sometimes painful drama that is wrought from the basic simplicity of Irish life. Altogether, this is a volume within whose pages there is a pleasurable peace of much tranquillising power. Don't be surprised, as it knocks hell out of those anxieties which keep you from sleep, if next morning you reach again to open up itspages.'J.P. Donleavy, Telegraph 'The result is a wonderful book.'Hugh Bredin, Irish News 'an extremely handsome book ... this is a volume within whose pages there is a pleasurable peace of much tranquillising power'J.P. Donleavy, Daily Telegraph 'satisfyingly bulky volume'Oxford Times 'All this diversity is held together by a common trait, an irresistible claim on attention, the written equivalent of a tug at the lapel or a hand on the shoulder. This book can be picked up and put down many times, but hardly ever in the middle of a story.'Time Magazine, Australia 'thoughtful selection'Magazine for London Living 'a distinguished collection ... Oxford's thoughtful and elegant anthology'Flatlander 'The publishers have crammed so much into this nicely- bound 563pp volume that you have to work at keeping the pages open but is still a book with the promise of days of enjoyment.'The Phoenix 'the stories in this Oxford anthology are thoroughly and well selected; and from them we can learn a great deal about Ireland's pungent but stifling atmosphere.'Patricia Craig, Independent 'Trevor has put together an all-embracing volume with some beguiling choices ... This is a rich volume, a splendid bedside-dipper, and handsomely produced.'Alun Richards, Wales on Sunday 'entertaining collection from the Emerald Isle ... most have been put together by some of the finest writers of the English language'Evening Advertiser (Swindon) 'it is the supreme merit of this splendid anthology that almost all readers will want to draw more from the wells from which William Trevor's draughts surely make him the Irish Ganymede.'Owen Dudley Edwards, The Scotsman 'Trevor, himself a writer of note, has chosen some of the finest examples of the art form ranging from early folk tales ... It is a little taste of Ireland that leaves you hungry for more.'Maurice Neill, Sunday News 'the stories in this Oxford anthology are thoroughly and well selected; and from them we can learn a great deal about Ireland's pungent but stifling social atmosphere'The Independent 'This magnificent anthology chronicles the development of a rich literary tradition from early folktales to Joyce and the new generation'Books 'The book sparkles with apt descriptions'Penny Perrick, Sunday TimesRead more...