*Starred Review* Trevor’s four most recent short story collections—After Rain (1996), The Hill Bachelors (2000), A Bit on the Side (2004), and Cheating at Canasta (2007)—merge all their pages into this deep reservoir into which avid fiction readers will dip repeatedly. Whether a story found in this magnificent accumulation is new to the reader or familiar, Trevor’s technical skills—for instance, abrupt time shifts that are seamless and add rich layering to both plot and characterization, and pinpoint-perfect word choice resonant as a subtle but effective spice—can be readily recognized by readers with an eye to fiction construction; but on the other hand, these skills will be unconsciously gathered by readers unconcerned with technical analysis. In this master storyteller’s hands, rural Ireland becomes the cosmos in which every one of us feels at home. The unfortunate ending of a friendship, the pain of a wife’s discovery of her husband’s affair, a husband’s sacrifice of his affair so his mistress won’t be regarded as just someone’s “bit on the side”—these specific situations assemble under the book’s umbrella theme of ordinary life as undulating waves of pleasures and crises. High-Demand Backstory: Irishman Trevor probably won’t be making any author tours in this country, but it is very likely his new book will be a cover review of the New York Times Book Review and will certainly be reviewed—and positively if not enthusiastically—everyplace else as well. --Brad Hooper
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.