From Publishers Weekly
The 12 stories of Trevor's latest collection blend an orchestra conductor's feel for subtlety with a monsignor's banishment of moral ambiguity. In The Dressmaker's Child, a 2006 O. Henry Award winner, the future seems predetermined for rural mechanic Cahal, until the preteen daughter of the village dressmaker runs at his car with a stone in her hand. Men of Ireland has the elderly Father Meade being visited by Donal Prunty, 52, a onetime altar boy gone derelict with the years. Father Meade, complicit (or perhaps not) in Prunty's undoing, learns that the erosion of memory extirpates nothing and only compounds one's regrets. The widower Mallory of the title story finds that mortality does not quite do away with the need for role playing and reverse strategies in marriage. And when Mollie of At Olivehill is at last goaded by her sons into selling her deceased husband's woodlands, the earthmovers appear with the alacrity of enemy tanks, altering her internal landscape as well. The book as a whole recalls Joyce's Dubliners
in making melancholia a powerful narrative device. (Oct.)
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Critics enthusiastically greet any new collection by William Trevor. Cheating at Canasta
is no exception, with many reviewers calling it one of the best of Trevor’s 12 short story collections. Two of the stories have already won the O. Henry Award, though the volume contains seven unpublished stories as well. New readers will find it a fitting introduction to his work, and longtime fans will find another bleak delight. Reviewers were particularly impressed that the 80-year-old Trevor remains both timeless and timely, importing his characteristic style into an Ireland that has greatly changed since he started writing. The only significant disagreement over Cheating at Canasta
was which of its dozen stories is the best.
Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc.