‘… as if she were a symbol of something …’
The Story of Lucy Gault
in William Trevor
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The entire dramatic edifice of The Story of Lucy Gault rests upon a moment set up by the narrator/scriptor as originary, as the precipitation of the events that will unfold in the course of the telling of the tale. This 'event' is the attempt by a group of republicans to burn down the Big House and the botched attempt by its owner, Everard Gault, to repulse them by firing a warning shot over their heads. The sense of menace at the hand of revolutionaries is virtually axiomatic of the Big House genre, and it is a trope that to a large degree William Trevor's novel does little to contest. As is the case in Dubliners, so much of Trevor's novel depicts a cultural predicament and a set of lives as paralysed, as petrified, as ineluctably in thrall to an irrecoverable trauma, as irredeemably cathected to a lost object or person.

William Trevor



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