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After Rain: Stories Paperback – October 1, 1997

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Editorial Reviews Review

After Rain consists of 12 short stories of love and disillusion by one of the current masters of fiction, William Trevor. Among the stories are "The Piano Tuner's Wife," which tells of a woman who lies to her blind husband; "Marrying Damian," in which an elderly married couple overlook their past differences; and the title story, a tale of a woman's vacation in Italy and the revelations of her heart. Each carefully crafted story offers a glimpse into another world that somehow reminds us of our own. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

There are few contemporary writers who can match the quiet dignity with which Trevor embues his writing, or his command of the short story form. After last year's remarkable novel, Felicia's Journey, he returns here to more mundane lives. These 12 tales stay well within the bounds of conventional storytelling: there are no fractured narratives or disjointed memories delivered solely for effect. Instead, each of these stories pursues a classic but effective structure: a thinly held equilibrium is disturbed, leading first to a general collapse, then to an emotional plateau in which something vital has changed. In "A Friendship," Francesca, an unhappy housewife, begins an affair with an old acquaintance. The liaison does not lead to the expected dissolution of her marriage but, instead, to a loss of another part of her life. In "The Potato Dealer," an unplanned pregnancy forces a young woman into a marriage of convenience with a middle-aged potato trader. Though never loving, the union achieves a type of friendship; a friendship that is then irrevocably broken by the revelation of secrets. The domestic vein of most of these stories is epitomized by "The Piano Tuner's Wives," in which a second marriage's competition with the first is handled with lyricism and a haunting simplicity, and by "Marrying Damian," in which a couple must struggle to accept their daughter's love affair with their friend, a middle-aged roustabout. Politics, too, finds its way into current lives. In "Lost Ground," the collection's longest tale, the troubles in Northern Ireland provide the impetus for a young boy's tragic death. Each of these stories is rendered with Trevor's characteristic economy. The deft handling of information, as well as the exquisite sense of control, again show Trevor as a brilliant master of his craft.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; Reprint edition (October 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140258345
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140258349
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.6 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #440,471 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

William Trevor was born in Mitchelstown, County Cork. He has written many novels, and has won many prizes including the Hawthornden Prize, the Yorkshire Post Book of the Year Award, and the Whitbread Book of the Year Award. His most recent novel Love and Summer was longlisted for the Booker Prize. He is also a renowned short-story writer, and his two-volume Collected Stories was published by Viking Penguin in 2009. In 1999 William Trevor received the prestigious David Cohen Literature Prize in recognition of a lifetime's literary achievement, and in 2002 he was knighted for his services to literature. He now lives in Devon.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By C Jones on September 6, 2000
Format: Paperback
There is little doubt that Trevor is a master of his craft and perhaps the greatest living short story writer in the world today. After Rain, a volume of twelve stories, explores such subjects as infidelity, homosexuality, religious conflicts, and violence. What makes these stories so powerful, however, is not the subjects they deal with, but the portrayal of the characters thoughts, emotions, and responses. Trevor is able to examine such human conditions as jealousy, rage, sadness, regret, and hope in a non-judgmental light that leaves the reader looking into oneself to gain further insight. His writing style is nothing short of remarkable. He is eloquent and simplistic, never revealing more than he should, making the unspoken a compelling component of his story. If you have not yet read Trevor, I urge you to wait no longer. His literary grace will surely leave a lasting impact on you as a reader and as a human being.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 7, 2002
Format: Audio Cassette
"After Rain" is a stellar proof that William Trevor is one of the most respected Irish short story writers. As a literary artist, Trevor is known for his elegant and hushed rendering of the psychic state of his characters. In addition, Trevor is also a humanist of great empathy, allowing him to uncover hidden or neglected angles of seemingly pedestrian situations. One story in this collection, "Gilbert's Mother," amply demonstrates Trevor's empathy. The story opens with a crime scene, told from an objective, clinical tone akin to a newspaper report. Just when you expect the next scene to develop the mystery further, Trevor switches the lens to a bystander, a woman, who, for the remainder of the story, contemplates whether her troubled son would be capable of committing such a crime. Trevor developed her skillfully, weaving with ease strained dealings between mother and son, as well as painful details of her past. The true crime to be solved here is how external circumstances beyond our control irrevocably sever our emotional ties from our loved ones, preventing us from ever knowing them fully.
A few pieces in this collection seem less inspired and not as well-executed. Some authorial comments that serve to wrap up stories seem forced. And as much as I admire Trevor the stylist, the elegance of language may border on the self-righteous when situations described do not warrant such treatment--minor quibbles in an otherwise fine collection.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Gail Cooke HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 14, 2004
Format: Paperback
Following on the heels of his beguiling Felicia's Journey, the incomparable Irish storyteller, William Trevor, brings us a collection of 12 poignant tales that illuminate the human condition.

Acknowledged by many to be the master of his oeuvre, Trevor commands our attention with dignity and subtlety. Amazingly adept at shifting perspectives from male to female in varying locations and scenes, the author's championship form is evident in After Rain.

His initial offering, "The Piano Tuner's Wives" is an incisive rendering of a middle-aged second wife's jealousy. Haunted by the happiness her husband once shared with another, she seeks to establish her place in surprising ways.

A lifelong bond between two women is broken in "A Friendship" when the clever plotting of one backfires. Timothy, the gay protagonist, in "Timothy's Birthday" seems to seek to punish his parents for their perfect marriage. He refuses to visit them for his birthday celebration as he has always done. Instead, he sends a friend with an excuse. The disreputable Eddie delivers his hurtful message, then steals from the older couple.

Trevor's spare prose shimmers in this story's summary paragraph: "They didn't mention their son as they made their rounds of the garden that was now too much for them and was derelict in places. They didn't mention the jealousy their love of each other had bred in him, that had flourished into deviousness and cruelty. The pain the day had brought would not easily pass, both were aware of that. And yet it had to be, since it was part of what there was."

Another story takes place in the fields of Ireland today. Here, Trevor displays his gift for knowing the female heart as a young woman challenges the culture and mores bred into her parents' bones.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Eric J. Matluck on May 14, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Like Grieg in the musical sphere, and Cheever in the literary one, William Trevor seems to be at his best in the smaller forms, where his sharply etched insights and compellingly profound characterization can glitter without the "imposition" of relaxation dictated by the novel. Reading his "Collected Stories" was among my favorite literary "events" of the past 20 years (since reading, of all things, Dreiser's "An American Tragedy" [talk about strange bedfellows!]), and if the present volume seems a bit less well-stocked with masterpieces than the earlier, larger collection, it also shows Trevor polishing his craft to an almost superhuman degree. Every word tells.
A couple of the stories in "After Rain" struck me as surprisingly weak: "The Piano Tuner's Wives," in which an elderly man's second wife contrives to distort his happy memories of his first, seemed architecturally imbalanced: the second wife was drawn with less fecundity than the first and as a result the cutting insights of the story's end seemed like the proverbial "too little, too late." The other relative disappointment for me was "A Day," in which a married woman meditates on her husband's infidelity. Maybe it was that the central character seemed annoyingly passive, but to my mind Trevor added little to a situation that has been visited many times before.
The bulk of the remainder of the stories was exceptionally fine, though, particularly "A Friendship," which limns the dissolving of a lifelong relationship between two women at one of their husband's instigation.
However, the real gems of the collection, in my opinion, were "Child's Play" and "Lost Ground," which may be among the finest short stories written. The first is spare and knife-edged, the second weighty and full of tragedy.
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