William Trevor Short Fiction Analysis
Like his novels, William Trevor’s short stories generally take place in either England or the Republic of Ireland. For the most part, Trevor focuses on middle-class or lower-middle-class figures whose lives have been characterized by loneliness, disappointment, and pain. His stories feature tight organization and lean but detailed prose. Their very “average” characters are made interesting by Trevor’s careful attention to the traits and quirks that make them individuals, to the memories and regrets they have of the past. Trevor, often wry and always detached, refuses to sentimentalize any of them; he does not, however, subject them to ridicule. Their struggles reveal the author’s deep curiosity about the manifold means by which people foil themselves or, more rarely, manage not to do so. Many of Trevor’s characters are trapped in jobs or familial circumstances that are dull or oppressive or both; many retreat frequently to fond memories or romantic fantasies. Trevor rarely mocks the men and women who inhabit his fiction, nor does he treat them as mere ciphers or automatons. In fact, like James Joyce, to whom he is often compared, Trevor assumes a detached authorial stance, but occasionally and subtly he makes it clear that he is highly sympathetic to the plight of underdogs, self-deluders, and the victims of abuse and deceit. Invariably, his principal characters are carefully and completely drawn—and so are the worlds they inhabit. Few contemporary...
(The entire section is 3197 words.)
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