Love and Summer
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Love and Summer

3.5 of 5 stars 3.50  ·  rating details  ·  1,955 ratings  ·  348 reviews
Love and Summer, the latest item from William Trevor's venerable suitcase, is a thrilling work of art."
-The New York Times Book Review

In spare, exquisite prose, master storyteller William Trevor presents a haunting love story about the choices of the heart, and the passions and frustrations of three lives during one long summer. Ellie is a shy orphan girl from the hil...more
Kindle Edition, 226 pages
Published (first published 2009)
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I don't think I've ever read anything I didn't like by Trevor, and this is no exception. It's subtle and beautifully written, of course, and with one of my favorite themes -- that of what goes on inside people that others never know. It reminded me a little bit of Tóibín's Brooklyn (which I loved) though here we see the interior life of more than just the one young woman, as it is also the story of one placid little Irish town. As with anywhere, though, it may seem quiet, but there's a lot going...more
Love and Summer finds William Trevor on familiar ground: it's summer in rural Ireland of the 1950s, a small Munster town that serves the needs of the surrounding farms of land, when the deprivations of the Emergency are fading to memory and one can still get change for a ten-shilling note at the Cash and Carry. Ellie Dillahan is a young farm wife, a foundling placed by the nuns who raised her as housekeeper for a widowed smallholder; a man she marries out of a sense of compassion and gratitude,...more
Whenever I pick up a new book by William Trevor, whether it’s a novel or a collection of short stories, I have to admit, I’m prejudiced. William Trevor is my favorite author. I know I’m bound to love whatever he writes. And, I loved his newest book, the 2009 Booker longlisted novel Love and Summer.

Love and Summer takes place in the quiet Irish village of Rathmoye in the mid-1950s and revolves around Ellie Dillahan, a young girl who was raised by nuns in an orphanage. When Love and Summer opens,...more
The New York Times described Trevor's Love and Summer as, "a thrilling work of art." I would have to disagree. "Thrilling" is not a word that should be anywhere near this book. Another reviewer I read said, "William Trevor's languidly paced novel is like summer itself: brief but charged with the beauty and passion of that longed for season." This was my first Trevor novel and his hallmark seems to be noticing the ordinary. For me, the novel's simplicity and subtlety fell over the line from art i...more
Some books are fully orchestral symphonies that swoop and buck from piano to fortissime: this exquisite translucent jewel is more like a quartet, where each sweet and poignant voice can be distinguished. The subject may be a simple one, baldly stated in the title, but William Trevor gives the tale of Ellie and Florian's summer of love resonance and vibrato, setting it off against those other voices that move in and out of their narrative. The overall effect is to make this much, oh so much more...more
If a class of would-be writers sat before me and asked 'how', I would give them this slip of a book and say 'like this'. Here is a world where everything matters, every word counts, and cadence connects us all.
Josh Ang
William Trevor is known for the poetic beauty of his prose, and he doesn't disappoint in this novel. The story is set in a fictitious small Irish town Rathmoye, where nothing much happens.

A love story that is relatively conventional, it raises itself above the expected love triangles marred by deceit and betrayal, by exploring the motivations and attitudes of the characters the plot involves, and unveils the better part of human nature tragedy strikes and sacrifice is offered.

There is a sleepy q...more
Bookmarks Magazine
Trevor is a master storyteller, and Love and Summer exhibits all the hallmarks of his most luminous works: his stark and graceful prose; his profound insight into the human heart; and his hauntingly authentic characters, precisely sketched in just a few short lines. In Trevor's provincial Ireland, every person has a story -- a secret hope or a heartache -- and he teases them out and weaves them together subtly and seamlessly. Gentle, naive Ellie is the highlight of this "spare and nuanced portra...more
William Trevor's small stories are just beautifully written. "Love and Summer" is a gem, pure and clear. The story takes place in Ireland in the 1950's and has an unhurried pace reflective of a simpler time. The theme is familiar; the young Irish woman married to an older, hard-working but simple farmer existing within a passionless marriage that works but does not inspire. By chance she meets an artistic, young man, a dreamer of sorts, who is all that her husband is not. Both lonely souls they...more
Trevor, William. LOVE AND SUMMER. (2009). ****. In a village named Rathmoye in Ireland, a young man rides in on his bicycle just as a large funeral of one of the town’s magnates is taking place. He has a camera with him and begins taking pictures of the ceremonies. He is taken note of by several of the villagers, but it is assumed that the family hired him. The young man is Florian Kilderry, the son of a family who used to live in the next village over. His family has now all passed on and he ha...more
‘Love and Summer’ is a quiet novel set in 1950’s rural Ireland, in which – some reviewers say – nothing much happens. I wouldn’t necessarily agree that nothing happens, in these small, sad disappointed lives – little things loom large.
When photographer Florian Kilderry is first spotted in Rathmoye taking photographs of Mrs Connulty’s funeral, Ellie Dillahan notices him as she cycles home. Miss Connulty now freed from her mother’s tyranny also notices him, and when Florian starts taking pictures...more
It is easy for me to feel on occasion overwhelmed by the world - work place stress, family illness, lack of motivation and purpose - and on those occasions I do one of two things: I take a bath or I take a nap. However, last Wednesday, I could neither bath or nap during on of these moods because I was at work, and so I walked to the local bookstore (the very terrific Bryan Prince Bookseller) and bought a book that caught my eye.* I can’t necessary recommend this practice as I feel like it falls...more
10/21/09: On reading Love and Summer once, I felt that it slid by me--washed over me--didn't stick. But still, it resonated. The writing is at once graceful and spare yet elusive, oblique. It refuses to tell the story straight out, instead relying on the spaces between the words, the pauses, the juxtapositions of different characters' thoughts and perceptions, to tell it. Although it all takes place over one summer, the tale encompasses the history of these characters, slowly revealing important...more
This novel is full of love stories both exquisite and painful. While the main plot centrally concerns the relationship between Ellie Dillahan and Florian Kilderry, the relationships that whirl around in the background are just as important. What I liked so much about this book is that there is no drama in these stories...or, at least, not in the way that William Trevor tells them. Well worth reading.
Oh this book was so beautiful and so sad. William Trevor remains one of my favorites and always leaves me feeling like I'm going to weep. His stories--this one as well--expose the tragedies, heartbreaks, betrayals, deep sadness that affect the lives of each of his characters. He tells his stories in a way that is both detached and sympathetic. Such a good book...they always are.
Set in a small Irish village sometime in the late 50's or early 60's (we never are told for sure)this is a gentle story about very ordinary people and the choices they need to make- sometimes easily and othertimes not. It's a small village, it's summertime, and nothing much goes on there. (If it does, the village is small enough that everyone is sure to know about it and have an opinion about it.) Into this village comes a young man, Florian Kilderry, to take photographs. He's come back to the a...more
David Williams
I'm going to make a partial and what will seem a strange comparison with Dylan Thomas's 'Under Milkwood'. Strange, as Trevor's work is a novel, Thomas's a play; the first is set in Ireland, the second in Wales; Trevor's story plays out under sunshine, Thomas's largely in the bible-black of night; strange, above all, as 'Under Milkwood' is essentially comic, 'Love and Summer' elegiac, tender and sad. But bear with me.

Both communities are tiny backwaters, where it sometimes appears that everyone k...more
At first I thought the title was weak, even silly, but having read the book I see now how perfect it is. It is a story about summer and love, though not of the romance genre that is currently so popular. This story has depth and the characters are realistically flawed. The tone of the book reminded me of Edith Wharton's "Ethan Frome" and Richard Blackmore's "Lorna Doone", unsentimental love stories that don't pretend lovers all live happily ever after.

Ellie Dillahan is married to a farmer who lo...more
After having re-read this book a lot, and finishing my second book by William Trevor (Two Lives, see my 5*-review here, I feel like I have to add something to my review.

It is still true that overwhelming boredom was what I felt when I finished it, but the feeling of the book itself has stayed with me ever since. I've read more books in such an unhurried style now, and William Trevor is one of the best there is for doing that. His descriptions are clear and to the point, and while I didn't...more
Love and summer…a classic combination, often treated as a light-hearted, superficial topic by many authors; however William Trevor’s novel Love and Summer is anything but a light, beachy read. Set in the fictional town of Rathmoye in the 1950’s, which is populated with many eccentric and likable characters; the novel focuses on Ellie Dillahan, an orphan who becomes a farmer’s wife after being in his employ, and Florian Kilderry, a young bachelor who is still pining for the unrequited love of his...more
Agnes Benis
I did not understand the ending with the paragraph about the nun. What did that mean? Did Ellie return to the convent - I don't think so. I thought she stayed with Dillahan because he had said to her how she made everything in his life better. That somehow gave her a reason for going on. Economical words to illustrate the vast inner worlds of the characters - the brother and sister, the brother's secretary who loves him, Ellie and the convent background, Dillahan and his tragedy and Florian and...more
This haunting book recounts a summer love affair in 1950s Ireland. It feels like summer - the pacing, the way days blend together, long hours of sunlight and idleness, the quiet, and the eventual reality that it must end. Trevor is a master writer - you can smell the lavender in the fields and hear the birds.

Love and Summer is about how your choices impact those around you, but it's also about regret and what might have been.

Ellie is an orphan who marries a very quiet widowed farmer struggling...more
William Trevor writes polished, perfect sentences. The story takes it's time, his scenes spare, evocative of loss. His main character, orphan Ellie Dillahan comes to her new life without a past, with no expectations for happiness. The nuns have not taught her what life is. Her husband's life has been severely affected by tragedy. He does not know how to live his life now. Miss Connulty observes the unfolding story and recalls the defining tragedy of her life and fears for Ellie. She is determine...more
Anne Broyles
As usual, Trevor brings to life a small Irish town where life is played out in small gestures behind which are hidden stories and secrets. This 82 year-old is a master at showing longing (Ellie will break your heart), regret (Dillahan), and the inability to get beyond the past (half the other characters). The small town and farm were realistically oppressive (I'll not likely move to such a place!)

Here's a sample of Trevor's characterization in a scene between two lovers, one of whom is about to...more
The writing is beautiful. Trevor communicates a lot with few words. On the other hand, I did not find the love story that is the novel’s core compelling in any way. The narrator tells us Ellie is in love, but I found it hard to believe it or understand why. Another problem for me is that the characters are stereotypes: the honest grief-stricken mature man who marries a young woman, the bitter spinster with a love story gone wrong in her past, the woman who pines for her boss who only loves his m...more
William Trevor is my favorite Irish author & I always try to read his latest book. Love & Summer is my favorite so far. It is small but is such a wonderful piece in his whole body of work. It is a perfect example of the tragic Irish spirit. This is a love story between the young second wife of a widower. He is a quiet Irish farmer, & she is left alone too much. A young photographer comes to town to sell his recently departed parents home & starts an affair with her which he only...more
A short book set in rural Ireland in the 1950s, this book is about love and the consequences it sometimes brings. The catalyst is Ellie Dillihan's (a young farmer's wife) summer affair with a young man. This affair brings about reminisces by the other characters of loves come and gone.

This was a seemingly straight forward book hardly any shocking twists, that took a little while for the deeper meanings to set in. It was wonderfully written. Well worth the read.
What a thinker of a book. Culture inculturation kindness and pretentiousness (in addition to the sorrow love and something-ends that a book with this title would *have* to have) and how *would* one go about getting even with a dead parent or receiving forgiveness from a dead spouse? These slices of village lives make a satisfying read, even with the dashes of bitters.
Trevor, a true craftsman, frames his sentences around the unsaid. I was taken into the story with Trevor's calm hand on my shoulder into a small Irish town where two people's affair threatens the people around them, past and present. Trevor trusts the intelligence of his reader and steps out of the way of the imagination.
I loved this book. Peeking into the secret sadness of ordinary people. Watching people behave the way they think they should while locking their deepest truth inside. There is much going on beneath the surface for each character and it is described so beautifully. Broke my heart and left me wondering....
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William Trevor, KBE grew up in various provincial towns and attended a number of schools, graduating from Trinity College, in Dublin, with a degree in history. He first exercised his artistry as a sculptor, working as a teacher in Northern Ireland and then emigrated to England in search of work when the school went bankrupt. He could have returned to Ireland once he became a successful writer, he...more
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“People run away to be alone,' he said. Some people had to be alone.” 20 likes
“But you didn't lose touch with a place when it wasn't there any more, you didn't lose touch with yourself as you were when you were part of it, with your childhood, with your simplicity then.” 3 likes
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