Trevor, William

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Trevor, William

William Trevor, 1928–2016, Anglo-Irish fiction writer, b. Mitchelstown, Co. Cork, as William Trevor Cox, grad. Trinity College, Dublin (1950). He settled in London in 1960 and five years later moved to Devon. Trevor's nearly 20 novels are usually set in England or Ireland, and he often wrote of the troubles afflicting his native country. His language is precise, unadorned, and understated; his humor subtle and wry. His characters are typically ordinary people trapped by the limitations of circumstance, suffering loss, disappointment, hurt, and betrayal, and struggling for understanding and resolution. He first achieved success with The Old Boys (1964), a novel centering on the effects of unhappy schoolboy experiences on the rancorous relationships of the old men the boys became. His other novels include Elizabeth Alone (1973), The Children of Dynmouth (1976), Fools of Fortune (1983, Whitbread Prize), Felicia's Journey (1994, Whitbread Prize, film 1999), Death in Summer (1994), The Story of Lucy Gault (2002), and Love and Summer (2009). Trevor was one of his era's finest short-story writers, a master of the spare, melancholy, and ironic tale. Among his collections are The Day We Got Drunk on Cake (1969), Angels at the Ritz (1975), The News from Ireland (1986), After Rain (1996), A Bit on the Side (2004), and Cheating at Canasta (2007). A new edition of his Collected Stories was published in 2010. Trevor also wrote a study of literary Ireland (1984), a memoir, Excursions in the Real World (1993), and television screenplays and adaptations.

See studies by D. MacKenna (1999) and G. A. Schirmer (2016).

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