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After Rain: Stories Paperback – October 1, 1997
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
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.
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. In "Child's Play," two children of divorce play act, with uncanny accuracy, their parents' sordid affairs, but when something happens to threaten the children's own relationship, their sudden reversion to reality proves more poignant and devastating than any play they can put on. "Lost Ground," the longest and perhaps greatest story in the collection, tells the tale of a Protestant family, one of whose sons is visited by, and asked to carry the word of, a Catholic saint. By encapsulating the religious conflicts in Northern Ireland in the guise of a single family, Trevor manages to comment on the intolerance of humankind while presenting a family drama of piercing sorrow.
I read recently that some people find Trevor's works offputtingly depressing. Maybe so; there are no happy endings here and virtually no happy people. Perhaps his truths are just too painful for a few to face. But then, sometimes, life is that way too.