William Trevor 1928–
(Born William Trevor Cox) Irish short story writer, novelist, and dramatist.
Trevor is renowned as a superb craftsman whose vision is moral and intensely humane. In prose noted for its subtletly and control, he attempts to show the reader what is extraordinary about the seemingly ordinary lives that he portrays. He does so, in the opinion of many critics, with remarkable success. Trevor's characters have a quiet dignity and command our respect. They are "recognizably human," believable in the fullness of their portrayed lives.
Trevor's novels and short stories, narrated by detached observers, are often extremely funny. Their subjects, nevertheless, are quite serious. Trevor's characters are isolated people who live bravely but fear a disruption in the order they have imposed on their thoughts and emotions. Typically, some person or event leads them to reassess their lives and selves. In his acclaimed early novel The Old Boys, for instance, a class reunion is the starting point for reflections on old age and for revelations of the pretentions of some of its characters. In the ambitious novel The Children of Dynmouth and the recent Other People's Worlds, it is a person rather than an event that causes the epiphanic moment around which all of Trevor's fiction revolves.
Trevor is often described as a master of the short story. His interest in the small but powerful moments that can change a person's life is particularly well suited to the form. Collections like his The Day We Got Drunk on Cake, The Ballroom of Romance, and Angels at the Ritz contain stories that have been described as both perfectly constructed and unusually moving. As Trevor's characters face some simple but painful truth about themselves, readers, critics feel, are moved to recognize their own vulnerability.
(See also CLC, Vols. 7, 9, 14; Contemporary Authors, Vols. 9-12, rev. ed.; and Contemporary Authors New Revision Series, Vol. 4.)