A Review: William Trevor's Love and Summer

Unfamiliar with Trevor's work until recently, I picked Love and Summer up after hearing "A Day" on The New Yorker Fiction Podcast.

If you're looking for a fast-paced, can't-wait-to-turn-the-page novel, Trevor's work isn't something you should pick up.

Love and Summer is an intimate portrait of a sleepy town in Ireland.  The town, which like all ancient settlements, has it's dusty relics, overgrown pastures and weary old men.  The audience witnesses the very mundane routine of Ellie, our orphan-turned-wife of a depressed, but honest, farmer.  Then we're introduced to Florian, a single child, and product of the head-over-heels union of two watercolor artists, who haunt the halls of the large home he wishes to flee. The novel explores the summer Ellie and Florian spend together. 

Trevor's stories, from the small experiences I've had thus far, are heavy for such slight volume.  Desperation, loneliness, desire and loss are frequently explored themes. His narrarators leave much to the imagination, and whole periods of time go by with casual references to the interim.  The perspective feels intrusive, as if the audience is listening in on a conversation, despite being noticed.  Trevor has a certain flair for meticuloulsy and eloquently noting the everyday details of the environment surrounding his puppets.  With such delicate care, the audience is further wrapped up in the story.  Love and Summer came to and end and I felt lighter upon laying it down, and found myself lost in the landscape, the emotions, the uncertainity each character evoked within one another, and ulitmately, me. 

Trevor is skilled at exploring the many facets of the human condition in very real terms.  I can't wait to explore more of his work.


  1. I read one of his books - The Story of Lucy Gault - and it was amazing - but so painful to read that I haven't been able to read him again since! Silly girl.

  2. I read his The Children of Dynmouth which I can highly recommend, I have also been meaning to seek out more of his stuff.

  3. This is a new title to me, but I will definitely take a look. Nice review!

  4. I feel like I'll probably purchase Trevor's anytime I come across while shopping. I've really fallen in love with his style.

  5. I have this one sitting on my shelf at home - I can't remember how I acquired it but I know I didn't buy it. I've been putting off reading it because I thought it was a fluffy chic lit book. I'm happy to learn that it's not!

  6. Brenna, Trevor's work is probably the furthest thing from that type of literature. It's raw realism; although, I like to imagine that not everyone is as downhearted and disappointed as many of his characters. Beautiful language and style are a bit of a weakness of my character. :) Btw, I purchased Anagrams by Lorrie Moore recently after your post on Who Will Run the Frog Hospital and can't wait to share!

  7. i've been eying a book of trevor's short stories for a while but for some reason have held off...i don't know, i have this impression of his work as being sort of staid and dull. (how is it that i have so many uninformed opinions of writers that i hold to so tightly?) from your description of this novel, though, his writing sounds anything but, i'll be picking up those stories next time i see them.

    -- ellen

  8. Some might say that Trevor's work is dull; most stories move at a slow pace, with very little actual "action." His remarkable attention to the everyday details of life are what fascinate me. His paragraphs are lyrical and quite beautiful. I highly recommend at least attempting his work, but I cannot guarantee you'll love it.


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