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Cheating at Canasta
Paul Delaney

In his non-fiction survey A Writer's Ireland, William Trevor distinguished short stories from other types of prose fiction by deploying the very same metaphor ('the art of the glimpse'), before suggesting that 'the modern short story deals in moments and subtleties and shadows of grey. Trevor's most recent volume of stories, Cheating at Canasta, exemplifies this point. The collection consists of a dozen short stories, half of which take place in Ireland; of the remaining six stories, four are set in England, one in Paris, and the title story in Venice. Trevor 'has chosen to embrace the pathos and yearning of the human heart as the focus of his fiction'. Jonathan Bloom eloquently declared, in a study which preceded the publication of Cheating at Canasta, 'a choice that makes him an equally elegiac and lyrical artist'.

in William Trevor
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Revaluations

William Trevor is one of the most accomplished and celebrated contemporary prose writers in the English language. This book offers a comprehensive examination of the oeuvre of one of the most accomplished and celebrated practitioners writing in the English language. Trevor is very interested in popular literature and how certain genres run through people's lives like tunes or family memories. His characters are often 'turned in on themselves', strange, extreme, at odds with the world. The various betrayals, manipulations and acts of cruelty that constitute the representative events of The Old Boys are typical of Trevor's England. The book also explores the ways in which Trevor's liberal humanist premises condition his response to issues of historical consciousness, ideological commitment and political violence. Trevor's short story, 'Lost Ground', from After Rain, conforms to Aristotle's vision of tragedy because it depicts a truly horrendous situation inside a family in Northern Ireland. Notable screen fictions illustrating long-term migrant themes include Attracta, Beyond the Pale and Fools of Fortune. Trevor's short story 'The Ballroom of Romance' evokes memories of dancehall days, partly explains this public appeal, which was enhanced by the BAFTA award-winning film adaptation of the story by Pat O'Connor. Love and Summer is a lyrical, evocative story of the emotional turbulence based on a critical variety of nostalgia that recognises both the stifling limitations of a small-town environment and the crucial connection between ethics and place.

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Paul Delaney and Michael Parker

This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book sets out William Trevor's work against a larger canvas. William Trevor is one of the most accomplished and celebrated contemporary prose writers in the English language. The book provides detailed analyses of key texts, focusing on works which are widely read or most often appear on university syllabuses. It examines the self-reflexive dimensions of Trevor's oeuvre, how allusions to books, newspapers, advertisements and records shed light onto characters' identities, aspirations and anxieties. The book highlights Trevor's responsiveness to Britain's changing culture from the mid-1950s onwards, highlighting his incorporation of black characters in his fiction at a time when many British authors declined to do so.

in William Trevor