Learnt by heart
William Trevor and reading
in William Trevor
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This chapter looks at the reading that goes on in some of the novels and stories of William Trevor. Trevor is very interested in popular literature and how certain genres run through people's lives like tunes or family memories. Though there are references to Irish authors in Trevor's fiction, over and over again his characters are found reading the English and European classics. Trevor's characters are often 'turned in on themselves', strange, extreme, at odds with the world. The same is true of technical, specialised literary genres, which Trevor sometimes infiltrates into his stories to show a warped, unsocialised or alien mind at work. In My House in Umbria, the romantic novelist who tells the story, whose life revolves around fantasy, curiosity, drink and garrulous, intimate conversations, comes up against the dry technical language of an entomologist's books.

William Trevor

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