‘Bid me strike a match and blow’
The Silence in the Garden
in William Trevor
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History in Ireland in the 1980s loomed large in the popular consciousness; the problems of the past continued to haunt the present. The crisis of this period concerned change, progression and their absence: the promise of the future, of moving on, appeared to be constantly undermined by the persistence of conflicts from earlier times. This is the contextual background in which William Trevor published his Anglo-Irish 'Big House novel', The Silence in the Garden. Trevor's The Silence in the Garden offers a masterful engagement with the human consequences of historical action. Vera Kreilkamp responds to the historical and political resonances in Trevor's novel, seeing it as a work giving voice to the guilt of the coloniser. Trevor's presentation of town life, the energies and the foibles of its citizens, contrast sharply with the jaded codes of Big House existence.

William Trevor

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