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

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

"The Women" by William Trevor (2013 in The New Yorker, republished in The O Henry Stories 2014)

William Trevor (1928, County Cork, Ireland) is for sure one of the two, along with Alice Munro, greatest living short story writers.  I have read and posted on way to few stories by these writers, maybe because their stories need time to seep down into the depths of your consciousness.  

"The Women", first published in The New Yorker and included in The O Henry Prize Stories 2014 is an amazing story that shows the slow unraveling of an old family secret.  There are two central characters in the story, an affluent refined businessman and his daughter.  His wife left him for another man when his daughter was two and he raised her alone, with hired help.  Everything in the girl's life stays the same, she is comfortable and happy though lonely with no real companions but her father, a very good man, the household help and the tutor who home schools her.  Her father periodically takes her on nice weekends to Oxford or Csmbridge and on vacation to Paris, Venice, and Rome.  The father decides she needs regular contact with other girls so he sends her to a fine boarding school.  She hates it at first and wants to go home but in time she makes friends, settling in.  I don't want to spoil the main plot development for potential readers but it does involve a pair of very close rather odd fifty something year old women who start to come to the ice hockey games.  

The ending really makes you think about the collisions of worlds, the coincidences that can define personal histories.  The contrasting worlds of the life of the father and his daughter and the two strange women is really brilliant.

"The Women" is a simply wonderful story which I am so glad to have read.

Do you have a favorite Trevor story?

Mel u

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