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After Rain


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About the Author

William Trevor was born in Mitchelstown, County Cork, and spent his childhood in provincial Ireland. He studied at Trinity College, Dublin. He has written many novels and 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, The Story of Lucy Gault (2002), was shortlisted for both the Man Booker Prize and the Whitbread Fiction Prize. He is a celebrated short-story writer, and his two most recent collections are The Hill Bachelors (2000), which won the Macmillan Silver Pen Award and the Irish Times Literature Prize, and A Bit on the Side (2004). Both are available in Penguin, as is his Collected Stories.


In the title story of this collection, Trevor says, "It was after rain that the angel came: those first cool moments were a chosen time." Each of these 12 stories have a chosen time. First, characters are introduced‘a blind piano tuner and his manipulative second wife, a gay man and the parents he resents, two children scarred by divorce‘and the rain in their relationships revealed. Then there is a moment of understanding. As in Trevor's latest (Felicia's Journey, LJ 12/94)‘a best seller that enhanced his oeuvre of 22 books, many of them prize winners‘tension and the revelations that come with it are skillfully brought to the reader's attention. Some of these stories have been previously published in magazines, but all of them are well constructed and offer the reader insights into the nature of conflict and resolution. Essential for larger literary collections.‘Joshua Cohen, Mid-Hudson Lib. Sys., Poughkeepsie, N.Y.

There are few contemporary writers who can match the quiet dignity with which Trevor embues his writing, or his command of the short story form. After last year's remarkable novel, Felicia's Journey, he returns here to more mundane lives. These 12 tales stay well within the bounds of conventional storytelling: there are no fractured narratives or disjointed memories delivered solely for effect. Instead, each of these stories pursues a classic but effective structure: a thinly held equilibrium is disturbed, leading first to a general collapse, then to an emotional plateau in which something vital has changed. In "A Friendship," Francesca, an unhappy housewife, begins an affair with an old acquaintance. The liaison does not lead to the expected dissolution of her marriage but, instead, to a loss of another part of her life. In "The Potato Dealer," an unplanned pregnancy forces a young woman into a marriage of convenience with a middle-aged potato trader. Though never loving, the union achieves a type of friendship; a friendship that is then irrevocably broken by the revelation of secrets. The domestic vein of most of these stories is epitomized by "The Piano Tuner's Wives," in which a second marriage's competition with the first is handled with lyricism and a haunting simplicity, and by "Marrying Damian," in which a couple must struggle to accept their daughter's love affair with their friend, a middle-aged roustabout. Politics, too, finds its way into current lives. In "Lost Ground," the collection's longest tale, the troubles in Northern Ireland provide the impetus for a young boy's tragic death. Each of these stories is rendered with Trevor's characteristic economy. The deft handling of information, as well as the exquisite sense of control, again show Trevor as a brilliant master of his craft. (Oct.)

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