Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction, Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel, Post Colonial Asian Fiction, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality Historical Novels are Among my Interests

Saturday, March 19, 2011

William Trevor-Two Stories-Irish Short Story Week

""Men of Ireland"  (5 pages, 2005) and "The Woman of the House" (4 pages, 2008)

The New Yorker
Day Six
William Trevor
William Trevor is without any doubt is by far and away the consensus pick for best living Irish short story writer.

Most long time readers of short stories consider either Trevor or Alice Munto (Canada) as the best world wide of contemporary short story writers.   Trevor (1928-Mitchelstown, County Cork, Ireland) is a very prolific writer.    In addition to numerous novel,  he has written 100s of short stories.    The Collected Short Stories of William Trevor is 1280 pages.  I first encountered  Trevor this week and will just comment briefly on the two stories (both published in The New Yorker) I read.  

"The Woman of the House"  opens with a crippled man bargaining with two men over the price of painting his house.   (I have seen a good bit of bargaining in the Irish short stories I have read this week.)    Martina lives with the man.   There relationship is a bit unclear.   Martina once had hopes for a good happy life now she just strives to get by.   She lets the butcher fumble her body in meat locker and does not have to pay for her chicken and pork.   She takes the money this saves her from the funds the man gives her and hides it.   As the story plays out we learn more of the history of the two painters, displaced persons from Poland now often called Gypsies.  We come to try to understand the woman.   The story is perfectly written and for sure kept me interested and wanting more.   Like many an Irish short story, it deals with people on the fringes of society, outsiders, misfits and outcasts.   I saw in this story and elsewhere this week that one can be an exile without moving away.

You can read this story HERE.   (You will also get to see some of the famous cartoons as you are reading!)

"Men of Ireland"  is also about an outcast and a misfit.   The central character left Ireland 23 years ago for England to try is luck there.   He never found any.   He decides (we do no learn why)  to take the ferry back to Ireland to go to his home town.    All of his clothes are second or third hand and he stole the shoes he is wearing from a drunk.   I went along with him as hitched a ride with a truck driver.   I got a look inside the mind of the man.  There is no real plot, no resolution in the very brief story but there is a full world constructed in " Men of Ireland".   Trevor ties the life of this very unimportant man in with the world in a brilliant way.

You can read "Men of Ireland" HERE

I could see myself starting on his 1280 page collection soon.

It is not to late to join in-all you are asked to do is post on one Irish Short Story this week and leave me a comment so I can include it in the master post I will do next week.

"Please stay around for the Party"-Rory

My greatest thanks  those who participated so far.

Mel u

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