A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK
The beloved and acclaimed William Trevor's last ten stories
"The great Irish writer, who died in 2016 at the age of 88, captured turning points in individual lives with effective understatement. This seemingly quiet but ultimately volcanic collection is his final gift to us, and it is filled with action sprung from human feeling."
—The New York Times Book Review
With a career that spanned more than half a century, William Trevor is regarded as one of the best writers of short stories in the English language. Now, in Last Stories, the master storyteller delivers ten exquisitely rendered tales—nine of which have never been published in book form--that illuminate the human condition and will surely linger in the reader's mind long after closing the book. Subtle yet powerful, Trevor gives us insights into the lives of ordinary people. We encounter a tutor and his pupil, whose lives are thrown into turmoil when they meet again years later; a young girl who discovers the mother she believed dead is alive and well; and a piano-teacher who accepts her pupil's theft in exchange for his beautiful music. This final and special collection is a gift to lovers of literature and Trevor's many admirers, and affirms his place as one of the world's greatest storytellers.
This spare collection of 10 stories by the late Trevor (The Story of Lucy Gault) might be too bleak if its darkness weren't skillfully counterbalanced by sly hints of humor and understated compassion. The stories are sharp and concise, containing whole lives in the span of just a few pages. The book as a whole has an elegiac tone, with death figuring heavily in many of the stories. Often, it's death observed at a distance, as in "The Crippled Man," in which two foreign painters speculate about the disappearance of one of the owners of the house they are painting, or "The Unknown Girl," in which the former employer of a young woman killed crossing the street wonders whether she holds partial responsibility. Many of Trevor's stories contemplate two interacting characters who have little in common, like the prostitute who pursues a picture-restorer whose memory is failing in "Giotto's Angels," or the very different widow and widower in "Mrs Crasthorpe." The author keeps a distance from his characters, driven to incomprehensible actions by motives even they don't understand. Readers familiar with Trevor, who died in 2016, will find satisfying closure, and those new to his work will find reason to go back and explore his previous books.
Lovely, delicate stories.