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Showing 1-10 of 23 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 83 reviews
VINE VOICEon September 10, 2011
This is a story of wasted lives and what cculd have been. Sometimes a thoughtless decision causes consequences that last a lifetime. That's what happens to the Gaults. Due to a childish decision by Lucy, the Gaults lives are changed forever. What would have happenened if Lucy had emigrated to England with her parents instead of faking death? Would they have lived better lives? Would they have gone to Italy? Would they have returned to Ireland? It's the unknowing that's the hardest. The reader thinks their lives could have been better but is that that truth? Or maybe their lives were doomed no matter what. Maybe some other tragedy would have afflicted them.
Some of the reviewers have made much of the lack of communication and one even mentioned the Amber Alert. The story was started in 1921. Easy communication was not in the picture then. It's hard in this day of instant contact to realize how difficult things were then. I can remember my mom tellng me she wished she had telephoned her mother more in the 1960's. It was just a foreign idea for her and that was 40 years after the story. 40 years after, most people find it inconceivable to be out of contact for a minute. My children are horrified that I do not take my cell phone everywhere. How can we get in touch with you? They can not understand the need for privacy.
Anyway, I found this a compelling book with lyrical writing and a story that needed to be told.
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on February 23, 2014
I picked up this William Trevor novel after seeing it on one of the earlier NY Times Notable Books list. I found it to be an interesting read that took about 100 pages to get into but once I did I found the rest of it to be a quick read and enjoyed it. The book is about an Irish family in the 1920s. The father makes a mistake and accidentally shoots a trespasser wounding him. He and his wife decide to leave their homestead but their daughter Lucy goes missing. They think she is dead. But she is very much alive and this small mistake sets in place a series of events that makes any parent question what they would have done in similar circumstances. Lucy grows old, has life experiences that every young woman will have, but she experiences them with surrogate parents instead of her real mom and dad. Boyfriends, friendship, marriage, and death. The book really was a study of Lucy's relationships with family, friends, and the world. A good read that I do recommend.
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on December 31, 2009
I liked this book, and am glad I read it; but I was hardly bowled over, and feel that in fits very comfortably into the 3 star category.

Briefly, the plot is as follows: due to civil strife, the upper class Irish family's is forced to leave their ancestral Irish home for England. Before setting out, Lucy, the family's 9 year old daughter, runs away to avoid the move, and is mistakenly presumed drowned. The grief-stricken parents depart without leaving forwarding information for a life of wandering, ignorant that they have left their daughter, Lucy, to be raised by the farmhands.

All of the plot described above takes place in the first 35 pages of the book, with the remaining 200 pages describing the uneventful wanderings of the parents and Lucy's uneventful growing up. Accordingly, most of the novel is an exploration of the characters' reactions, and the consequences to, the events experienced at the very beginning.

Given the absence of plot, the novel serves as a somber commentary on loss, grieving, denial, regret, and blame. At the same time, there is a hardy, respectful, sometimes hopeful, stoicism at work; life goes on and the characters do what they can to make the best of it. The father recounts that before the mother's death, there were times, in the small Italian town where the parents elected to lose themselves, that she was actually happy. The characters try and find meaning in life's small details, daily activities. The author's descriptions of such events, such matters, is really his strong sut.

A reader looking for a "big book," bold plot developments, strong characters, decisive action, should pass this book by. Its a "small book", with events, characters, reactions muted, understated; a painting in grays and dark colors. Other than the initial flurry and one ill fated flirtation for Lucy, the lives of the characters are very ordinary, very (dare I say it) boring.

On the other hand, such is life (boring, slow, quiet). While I thankfully do not know anyone who has suffered this fate, the life of Lucy's parents, suffused with a constant, quiet, suffering and regret over the loss of their child, is probably a pretty accurate portrayal. I am much more dubious of Lucy's tendency to blame herself for the misunderstanding. After all, children do not experience loss in the same way that a parent does, as one would expect to see upon the death of a parent (as opposed to the death of a child).

In conclusion, this subtle, quiet book will not change your life. Its a well-written, small, meditation on loss and regret. My recommendation strongly depends on what a reader is looking for.
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on January 18, 2017
A small book with a very small story that seemed incredibly long. The beautiful style of writing was not enough to make this story either endearing or interesting. The main characters are superficially drawn and behave in the most infuriating manner. The supporting characters (all 3 of them have more depth!)
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on August 12, 2015
The overal writing of the novel was well done however I you are looking for a happy story look elsewhere. This novel does not have a "happy" resolution. You could almost retitle the novel The Depressing story of Lucy gault. However I did enjoy how Trevor wrote this novel and he made his characters come alive.
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on November 7, 2008
Whatever one writes about this work, will be inadequate as it will tend to reduce it to a plot, or a sociological analysis. It is an intense emotional experience for the reader, as it deals with the inability of most of us to connect (see E.M.Forster) made evident in the characters drawn by Mr Trevor. The reader, however, is made privy to the feelings and thoughts of the characters in such a way, in such detail especially of the everyday reality of domestic life, that one aches with them, suffers loss with them, and so on. Thus the reader, becomes as it were, Lucy herself as she explores life through the novels she reads, but the reader,not being Lucy, knows what she does not have in terms of lover, brother, sister, child and so on. Does that make sense? Perhaps not. The heart has its reasons, and reason knows not why.If you don't want your heart squeezed, don't read this book.
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on August 15, 2013
The title of William Trevor's beautiful 2002 novel should signal that its contents are first and foremost "a story": their events may strain credulity, but so do the events of most stories (and most novels), and we must take them for what they are as their characters do. In 1921, during the Irish war of Independence, the young Captain Everard Gault wounds a young man trespassing on his estate, Lahardane, whom he has sure has come to burn the place down; this nearly accidental act of violence sets in motion a chain of events that comes to dominate the lives of everyone in and around Lahardane for decades to come. Terrified their house will be burnt down in retribution, Gault plans to leave Ireland with his beautiful wife Elise and their eight year-old daughter, but little Lucy, miserable at the thought of abandoning the only home she has ever know, runs away the day before they are to leave. When she does not return the entire weekend after, her parents are certain she has drowned; heartsick, they leave Ireland for what they think is for good, and refuse contact with their lawyers or estate managers and they leave to mourn by themselves on the Continent for the rest of their lives. But Lucy has only vanished because she hurt her foot in the woods outside Laharadane, when she is discovered, no one can contact her mourning parents, and she is left to grow up on the shuttered estate as the months become years, as she remains certain her parents have left her to punish her for her offenses, and will return only when she can possibly be forgiven.

THE STORY OF LUCY GAULT depends upon its readers understanding that such horrible coincidences can happen, and that they can become the stuff of stories. Lucy spends much of her time waiting through her adolescence and young for her parents' return reading great Victorian novels that often depend on just such tricks of circumstance--the novels of Thomas Hardy are classic examples. As with Hardy's fiction, what matters here is less what happens to its central characters than how they are tempered by these events; when the chance for forgiveness comes, the question is not only if they can deliver it but if they can even recognize it. The novel spans the history of the Irish Republic, ending in the days of the Internet, so that we see in Lucy Gault's story (and in the story of her father, his retainers, and the man her father wounded) the story of the nation of Ireland as well. As many critics have noted, this is one of William Trevor's very finest novels, and is written particularly beautifully.
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VINE VOICEon June 22, 2010
For a relatively short book (under 250 pages), this was surprisingly epic in its scope. It covers nearly the entire life of Lucy Gault - and what a tragic life! Accidentally abandoned at the age of seven, Lucy's life never becomes anything more than a life of quiet grief and almost desperation. Well-written, the overwhelming sadness of the book as a whole made it a rather depressing read. And despite the book's opening date (oddly enough, June 21st), I think this is more of the type of book for winter nights, rather than hot summer evenings. From its premise, I thought that the book would focus more on Lucy's childhood, but the vast majority dealt with the extended aftermath of the accident that defined her life, particularly during the summer of her 21st year. Though not an enjoyable read, per se, it definitely kept me turning pages and just had me yearning for something - anything - good to happen to Lucy.
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on December 6, 2012
Everyone lives a life that may be quite different from what might be anticipated. I would describe this book as solemn. Whether you like it or not, it stays with you
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on September 15, 2013
Great start but bit drawn out. Great story and well written. Not sure I would read any more of his though.
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