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The Old Boys

3.75  ·  Rating Details ·  130 Ratings  ·  16 Reviews
Paperback, 192 pages
Published July 1st 1996 by Penguin Books (first published January 28th 1964)
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Community Reviews

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Dec 21, 2014 Frank rated it liked it
Typical early Trevor, which means it's very very different from his mature and late work (which is probably better known and better-loved). It's full of the contrived, stagey and unrealistic dialogue, in a Beckettian or Pinterian vein, that you also see in some of the early stories (e.g. in The Day We Got Drunk on Cake). It's entertaining, and it does work well in some of those short stories, but it can't hold my interest for an entire novel.

It was interesting to read this immediately after a fa
Sep 06, 2008 Peter rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Got this in a omnibus of 3 early novels of Trevor. Never read him before, and to be honest, never heard of him before.

Loved this book! Wow, very funny, great dialogue. Pretty basic plotting, but this is his first novel, and all reports seem to indicate ideas and plotting get more complicated and complex as his career goes on.

Characters here are funny and as well fleshed out as an ensemble cast can be in 165 pages.

Highly recommended to people who like English authors with a decided Pickwickian f
Robert Hyman
Nov 30, 2016 Robert Hyman rated it really liked it
When I heard the hubbub when William Trevor died as "one of the best modern Irish writer" I became curious; I'd never heard of him before. The Old Boys is considered his first major work and I enjoyed it thoroughly. It is about old boys from an English public school living out their grudges some 60 years after leaving that school. While that may sound odd, the book is very witty. I plan to read more Trevor in the future.
Mar 13, 2015 George rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 20th-century
Ένα βιβλίο που αφορά γέρους, γραμμένο από έναν νέο σε ηλικία συγγραφέα (τότε που το έγραψε ήταν νέος, τώρα είναι και αυτός ραμολί). Και είναι ίσως από τα πιο αστεία βιβλία που έχω διαβάσει, όσο να'ναι τα γερόντια με τις διάφορες παραξενιές τους και με τις συζητήσεις τους, καμιά φορά, προκαλούν γέλιο. Ειδικά όταν τσακώνεται ο ηλικιωμένος άντρας με την ηλικιωμένη γυναίκα του. Καταπληκτικοί διάλογοι.

Οι συμπαθητικοί γέροντες που πρωταγωνιστούν στο βιβλίο, είναι απόφοιτοι ενός σχολείου το οποίο έχει
May 22, 2011 Granuaille rated it really liked it
This was my first William Trevor book and it is his first book.

It is the story of old boys in advance of the election of their chairman and their various lives as well as reflecting back on their schooldays. It is also the story of the main characters marraige. In essence I believe that the book is about people at the end of their days - and indeed there are several discussions specifically on this topic interspersed throughout the book.

Most of the book is dialogue, which is excellent. I particu
Jan 12, 2015 Bastianbalthazarbux rated it it was amazing
A very sensitive book about growing up and getting old. A group of 80 year-old graduates, former students of the school, are trying to elect a president for the alumni association of the year. As this procedure unfolds, the writer presents the life of each alumni and the relation between them (with a lot of flash-backs) with such a sensitivity, severity and clarity, without hiding their obsessions and vanities. There is a great balance between humour and melancholy throughout the whole novel. A ...more
Feb 15, 2015 Peter rated it really liked it
Once again, I'm surprised by how different an early Trevor novel (this was his first) is from his later works like The Story of Lucy Gault and Felicia's Journey. The later books are usually single-perspective narratives, often of sad, isolated women. But The Old Boys (like The Boarding House, which I also enjoyed) covers a broad range of characters and is often very funny, perhaps in the vein of Wodehouse (whom I haven't read) or Kingsley Amis. Eight old men, graduates of the same boarding ...more
Jun 27, 2016 Julie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Penguin have done a great job in reissuing the early novels of one of our greatest contemporary novelists in handsome new editions. The Old Boys was Trevor's first novel, published in 1964 and it bears many of the hallmarks of his mature work: the forensic unpicking of human relationships, the secrets we keep from each other and a remarkable ability to portray the seamy underbelly of civilised life. His prose style is almost fully formed at this early stage and you just know that you are reading ...more
Linda Howe Steiger
Dec 26, 2015 Linda Howe Steiger rated it liked it
Trevor's debut novel from the sixties. Social satire about a group of slightly demented "old boys"--ancient (70!) alumni from a British prep school. Mostly from the perspective of callow youth, however. Mostly nothing happens of course as the old boys are involved in inconsequential business. Too bad Trevor didn't do a reprise once he had reached that certain age himself--might have been better book. Fortunately Trevor gets a lot better
Jul 23, 2015 Laff rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fifty years old, this early novel by William Trevor has a tightness and a tension lacking in so much modern fiction. In fewer than two hundred pages he deals with the obsessions of old age, the impressions of youth, the banality of long-term relationships and the complexities of parenthood while still delivering a plot and finishing with one of the finest final lines that I have ever read, 'Come now, how shall we prove we are not dead.'
Nov 22, 2016 Mark is currently reading it
This was, I believe, Trevor's first novel and it shows. It's the story of the alumni association of a boy's school and the petty mean-spirited ways in which these men act, even years after leaving school behind. At times it is hilarious, but it falls apart at the end and the reader is left without a satisfying resolution.
Dec 20, 2013 Adam rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2013
This was probably a 3.5 star book. It was amusing (in that dry, British-isles sort of way) while being a little sad at the same time. Reading stories like this makes me glad I never went to a English public school!
Mar 16, 2016 John rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Randall Jones
Mar 23, 2008 Randall Jones rated it really liked it
This was a good read - well-written, well-paced, held my interest to the end. What did I learn? I'm so glad I wasn't at an English public school in the early 20th Century. Maybe ever.
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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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