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.