The Collected Stories
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The Collected Stories

4.5 of 5 stars 4.50  ·  rating details  ·  939 ratings  ·  58 reviews

The Collected Stories - a stunning volume of William Trevor's unforgettable short stories

William Trevor is one of the most renowned figures in contemporary literature, described as 'the greatest living writer of short stories in the English language' by the New Yorker and acclaimed for his haunting and profound insights into the human heart. Here is a collection of his s

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Kindle Edition, 1280 pages
Published (first published 1992)
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Mosca
Nov 16, 2012 Mosca rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everybody
Recommended to Mosca by: Harpers Magazine???
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Somewhere about around 30 years ago, I read the short story "In Love with Ariadne" either in a laundromat, waiting in an airport, or bored above the Arctic Circle in winter, or ....something. I think it was in the "Atlantic Magazine", or some other.

I, almost immediately, also, fell in love with Ariadne. And with the writing of William Trevor.

That short story and many, many others are collected in this book. And any one who has read William Trevor will not need...more
William
I tend to think of William Trevor as Ireland's John Cheever. There are no doubt myriad differences between the two writers, but what they have in common seems to me too striking to ignore. There is a certain preference for bibulous, upper middle-class, affluent couples. People bored with their creature comforts and their money and their children and their marriages; professional people, usually, bored too with their jobs and their tawdry affairs and their colleagues. Both Trevor and Cheever also...more
Sarah
Brilliant. The best short stories I have ever read. The range of characters, of misery, and of humor are absolutely incredible. Trevor can make you laugh while a pit of dread simultaneously opens in your gut. So typically Irish, that--after all, you never laugh so much as at an Irish wake.
A few characteristic lines to give you the flavor:
"As she did every morning after breakfast, Mrs. Abercrombie recalled her husband's death."
"She was a woman like a sack of something, Jenny considered, with thic...more
Cynthia
These are the best short stories I have ever read. In just a few pages, Mr. Trevor creates an entire universe. I am enjoying this collection so much that I am only read a story a day and decided to not finish this at this time. That way I can return to it and read a new story. This is simply the best. Any person who is a fan of short stories must read these. And if you don't like short stories, you will still like these stories since he tells a novel in a matter of pages.
Larry
This is one of those books that will always be on my night table as I read and reread these gems. Excellence in short story writing is a rare talent and the fact that William is a fellow Irishman is only a grateful coincidence! Until my mid-life I had considered Anton Chekhov as the king of short stories and while he will never be dethroned William Trevor is sitting squarely at his right hand and only a little lower in the pantheon. Describing Trevor's short story style is impossible and analysi...more
Ashley Memory
The variety and texture in these gems by the greatest short story writer still living (and still published in the New Yorker) make this collection a reason to be stranded on a desert island. If this fat book were a floatation device, I’d jump ship and never be seen again.

This book inspired me to write, to experience the joy of creating my own community of lovable humans, foibles and all.
Janebbooks
On November 1, 1992 Viking published the entire first seven collections of short stories of one William Trevor, called the "greatest living writer of short stories" by Booker prizewinning Irish author John Banville. This awesome tome has 1296 pages. The NY Times Book Review calls the stories "treasures of gorgeous writing, brilliant dialogue, and unforgettable lives."

For a taste of Trevor, may I recommend a smaller Penquin paperback entitled IRELAND (1998) that contains two of my favorite storie...more
Anastasia Fitzgerald-Beaumont
Over the years I’ve derived so much enjoyment from short stories, in some ways my favourite literary genre alongside the critical essay. I really began when I was little with myths and folktales, a tradition for which I still retain considerable affection. By the age of ten or so I was reading Edgar Allan Poe’s Tales of Mystery and Imagination. From there, in successive stages, I discovered such wonderful story tellers as William Somerset Maugham (his Far Eastern stories are a particular favouri...more
Kasandra
Amazing. Though these stories are set in Ireland, England, and Scotland for the most part, and the scenery is lovingly described and the way of life very clearly presented, they could be happening anywhere -- the human emotion and complexity of relationships and inner worlds is as well described as anything I've ever read. These stories suck you in and leave you thinking. I've never read better. This book took me a while to get through because it is so hefty, but it was well worth the time and t...more
Anne Sanow
Trevor can seem quiet and traditional, but he's really rather brilliantly subversive in the way he manages to step away from authorial pronouncement and just let the characters reveal themselves. So much contemporary Irish literature is steeped in shamrocks, bogs, and sentimental blarney, but not Trevor's Ireland: this is social- and class-consciousness at its sharpest. Everything's good in this collection--for my money, Trevor is simply incapable of writing a bad story. As just one example, see...more
Andrea
At nearly 1,300 pages this is the best book ever. One day I couldn't stop reading and read 500 pages. Mr. Trevor's Selected Stories was listed as one of the top 5 on the New York Times list last year - this is better - lots more to read! He is compared to Alice Munro and rightly so as he can really tell a wonderful insightful tale all in just a few pages. A must read.
Maureen
William Trevor's short stories are the best written in English since James Joyce experimented with epiphanies. They are not for the faint of heart. Trevor's tales build quietly, using humor and quotidian detail to delay an uneasy knowledge of coming events that the reader comes to see must unfurl, at some point, by story's end. Even in his least subtle tales, however (and these are rare), I've always found myself respectfully approaching his endings. He is the master of the slow, glancing, but i...more
Jack Long
Stephen Schiff penned a huge epic piece on Trevor in the December 28, 1992 New Yorker, Vol.68, Issue 45, pg. 158 titled, "The Shadows of William Trevor," whereby he spent time at Trevor's home. This paragraph pretty much sums up Trevor's work:

"As certainly as there is a bluegrass-and-swimming pool suburbia that will forever be remembered as Cheever Country, there must also be a Trevor Territory: backward villages in England or Ireland with narrow streets full of dogs and bicycles and small boys...more
Jonathan
I read the first five stories in this collection. All we're written with a conservative, dull style about dull daily goings-on. Most were little more than a character study, and depressing. I got to a story focused on a table for sale and couldn't go any further. I was reminded of a barb tossed by John Lennon about McCartney's "old lady drinking tea" songs.
Linda Michel-Cassidy
So far, I am loving these stories. True to Trevor fashion, everyone is miserable or drunk, and there's a lot of bad weather. I miss Ireland.
Trevor is such an excellent portrayer of characters and his writing is so subtle that I can really only read a story or two at a time. Given that this book is, what? ten thousand pages long, I guess I'll finish it around the same time I wrap it up with Anna Karenina. Actually, if it didn't weigh as much as a spare tire, I'd probably take it places and would...more
Arwen56
13 racconti ambientati in Irlanda, ovviamente. I protagonisti sono persone assai diverse tra loro: contadini, commercianti, professori, impiegati, piccolo borghesi ... gente di ogni tipo, insomma. Ciò che li accomuna è l'amarezza dei finali, nei quali, chi in un modo e chi in un altro, scopre, prende atto o rivela di quanta iprocrisia, falsità e compromessi siano in realtà fatti i rapporti tra gli uomini.

Non sono scritti male, tuttavia si tende a dimenticarli. Sono un po' "anonimi", diciamo.

Michael Jayfox
Can you say he is the counterpart to Alice Munro? As far as the best living short story writers goes, he is undeniably up there. Trevor is quite formulaic but it comes from years of perfection in his craft. And when you feel like you see the next turn in the road, that's when Trevor jerks the wheel into traffic. Read: "The Table"
Kathryn Ma
Trevor is a master. I'm in awe of his storytelling, and his compassion for us all.
Dan
Aug 13, 2008 Dan marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
I have a plan.
It's a big book.
I will read some of it.
Then more of it.
Then the rest of it.
Then start again.
That's the plan.
I mean, really, it's a big book.

Zadie Smith keeps a copy by her bed.
Zadie's cute.
I wish I had a collection of stories to keep by Zadie's bed.
Yeah.
Hmm...
Elizabeth Neill
I loved this book. It has meant so much to me. I find myself in Trevor's characters and consider him to be perhaps the greatest realist writing today - combining great psychological insight with economical description. When I read about his characters, I feel that I know them and their world, fully.
Melody
Full of unhappy, unfulfilled marriages, many infidelities, latent homosexuality, facades of happiness and childless women.

Shades of James Joyce hover near each tale.

I would have liked for my first venture into Trevor to be a bit shorter. I have to say, those last stories had me sighing in relief.
Katwanya
William Trevor is my favorite short story writer. This book has fantastic stories with superb writing. The writing is deep and real. Trevor make you see, feel, taste, touch, and smell his characters, their surroundings, and emotions. His craft of storytelling is a true gift.
Caroline
These are beautiful short stories from a master of the art of short fiction. A very thick book - a life time of work - proved to me that reading fiction is an important and valid an activity as reading non-fiction and biography if you want to be truly well-read.
Laurel Carey
I randomly selected 25 or so stories to read and was so enthralled by the beauty and craftsmanship that I was reluctant to return this book to the library. I so long to read more of William Trevor's collected stories that I will be purchasing the book.
Anna
I love short stories and this is a collection that will keep you occupied for a long, long time. I'm not sure that I've actually read every story, which is good. I periodically find myself craving Trevor's writing and am easily sated here. Wonderful!
John Murdoch
William Trevor is the master of the art of short story writing. These stories are so deceptively simple but pull a real punch in some extraordinary ways. Rewarding in the extreme. I can't recommend his writing more highly. Well worth reading.
robert
the stars are for kathleen's field and especially the ballroom of romance. I'd give two or three stars to the other stories i read in this book: raymond baumber and mrs. fitch, the original sins of edward tripp, and the grass widows.
Jen
He is an amazing author... he makes everyone else sound insipid. But you should handle his work with proper care-- it's too much regret and despair for people to take too much of in a sitting. But so absolutely worth reading.
Millie
Being of irish descent his stories have a special way of wrapping themselves around you. He of course is one of the world's most prolific story writer and now is his 80's is still the master
Geoffrey
A HUGE book - in pages, that is. You can dip in anywhere and find a good story. Disturbing, usually - Trevor's people are all a little out of kilter, and rarely merry, but always interesting.
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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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