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Ireland Paperback – September 1, 1998


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books (September 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140277595
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140277593
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #578,820 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

When a William Trevor story comes saddled with the title "The Paradise Lounge" or "The Ballroom of Romance," readers can be fairly certain there's a heavy dose of irony involved. Acclaimed as one of the finest English-language writers living today, Trevor specializes in lives crippled by low expectations. In Ireland, selected from his previous volumes, Collected Stories and After Rain, he assembles a cast of assorted dreamers, loners, and hard-luck cases and then chronicles their disappointments with a compassionate but profoundly unsentimental eye. "The Paradise Lounge" is a rundown hotel bar where Trevor juxtaposes two adulterous loves, from two different generations; one affair has been consummated, the other not, but each is bitterly envious of the other. In "The Piano Tuner's Wives," a blind man's new wife becomes jealous of her predecessor. Instead of describing the world around him as his first wife did, Belle lies to her husband, who resigns himself to the situation: "Belle could not be blamed for making her claim, and claims could not be made without damage or destruction." Other stories find the specter of the Troubles lurking in the background, as in "Beyond the Pale" or "Lost Ground," in which Irish violence assumes the nasty inevitability of fate: "Milton's death was the way things were, the way things had to be: that was their single consolation." Throughout, the writing is simple, luminous, and characteristically lovely. Like Chekhov, another master of understatement, Trevor can paint an entire world with a single stroke of his brush. Trevor's characters are willing to settle for very little, and they seldom even get that. His readers, however, get everything they could possibly ask for.

About the Author

William Trevor is the author of twenty-nine books, including Felicia’s Journey, which won the Whitbread Book of the Year Award and was made into a motion picture. In 1996 he was the recipient of the Lannan Award for Fiction. In 2001, he won the Irish Times Literature Prize for fiction. Two of his books were chosen by The New York Times as best books of the year, and his short stories appear regularly in the New Yorker. In 1997, he was named Honorary Commander of the British Empire. He lives in Devon, England.

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

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Noah Mass (noahdmass@msn.com) on February 5, 1999
Format: Paperback
This is a fine introduction to the short fiction of William Trevor, focusing on the most Irish of his stories--and more accessible than his imposing Collected Stories. Trevor has always been a confident writer. His stories have such a logic to them. They seem not have been invented at all. Perhaps this is why they are so affecting. The best stories include "The Ballroom of Romance," the classic "Theresa's Wedding," "The Paradise Lounge," and my two favorites, "The Piano Tuner's Wife" and "Honeymoon in Tramore." Trevor is a giant of the form.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Lia Lopez on May 28, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I highly recommend any book written by this author. He never disappoints! I especially love his variety of short stories.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Stanley Crowe TOP 1000 REVIEWER on May 8, 2013
Format: Paperback
The contents of this volume, published originally in 1998, come from earlier collections of Trevor's and are gathered together because all of them have to do with Irish life. They are by no means all of Trevor's Irish stories, but I believe that he made the selection. For Trevor, who is now in his late 80's (about the same age as the great Alice Munro) the Ireland he has painted is one in which people live lives of quiet, and sometimes violent, desperation, and where family and religious resentments loom large, and are sometimes suppressed and sometimes acted on. It's an Ireland that is perhaps vanishing, and perhaps for the better, though what has replaced it (see Colm Toibin) has its own darknesses. I don't want to give too much away, so I'll just say that there are at least four great stories here: "The Ballroom of Romance," "Death in Jerusalem," "Beyond the Pale," and "Lost Ground." The last two of these are harrowing, and engage issues of religion and politics, but these emerge from conflicts between individuals and family members -- Trevor is a dramatist, and has no interest in Ideology as such, and the specificity of his settings and situations is what gives his stories their power. The other two stories deal with less intense feelings, but treat of kinds of failure that if less obviously apparent are nonetheless deeply felt. Trevor has the gift of getting into the heads of men and women, lay people and clerics, urban and rural, old and young. He's an unspectacularly good writer, and it seems that there's nothing he can't do. Highly recommended.
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