The Story of Lucy Gault
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The Story of Lucy Gault

3.7 of 5 stars 3.70  ·  rating details  ·  3,164 ratings  ·  338 reviews
The stunning new novel from highly acclaimed author William Trevor is a brilliant, subtle, and moving story of love, guilt, and forgiveness. The Gault family leads a life of privilege in early 1920s Ireland, but the threat of violence leads the parents of nine-year-old Lucy to decide to leave for England, her mother's home. Lucy cannot bear the thought of leaving Lahardane...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published August 26th 2003 by Penguin Books (first published January 1st 2002)
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Shovelmonkey1
Feb 20, 2012 Shovelmonkey1 rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: grazers not gulpers
Recommended to Shovelmonkey1 by: 1001 books list
Shelves: 1001-books
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Sue
Beautifully written tale of Anglo-Irish family in 1920s Ireland and their daughter Lucy, filled with Irish fate and sadness but also with Irish resilience, forgiveness and wonderful language.

A child's rebellious act changes the lives of everyone within her sphere of influence; it's what every child fears come true. Lucy lives it and becomes mythic in her "grand" house in the small Irish town. To say more will be to tell the story which I don't want to do. Suffice it to say I was captivated by th...more
Jessi
Holy Crap. This may be the most depressing thing I have ever read, well probably not most, but wow.

First off this is for my Gran who always goes on about "those bleedin mobile phones" and in her day they "didn't have a god damn phone in the house, can you imagine?"
No I can't. I think of Little House on the Prairie then instantly want to cuddle with the TV, my mobile or any of the indoor plumbing, just so they know how much I appreciate them. Well f this happened today none of this shit would ha...more
John David
This review contains spoilers.

This is a wonderful, evocative novel tracing the life of the Gault family beginning during The Troubles in the twenties. Fearing reprisals against Irish nationalists and a previous attempt to burn down their family estate, Lahardane, the Captain Everard Gault and his wife Helene consider fleeing for the Continent. Lucy, their daughter, overhears them talking about moving, but wants to do anything but move from her home on the Irish seaside, the only place she has ev...more
Liz
There is no doubt that William Trevor is a beautiful writer. I love his style - so Irish, so descriptive. He crafts sentences like a landscape painter - always from a respective distance, but so rich in detail. The Story of Lucy Gault is sort of modern gothic, layered with tragedy and misunderstanding and set in a windswept coastal house that is as removed from society as its characters are removed from each other. At first, I was drawn into the situation, but as the story went on, a sense of ho...more
Ursula
So many times in our lives, we can look back at moments of chance or luck that changed everything. These moments can be positive or negative, major or minor: if you hadn't bought that raffle ticket on a whim, you wouldn't have won a vacation. If you had been distracted for a second longer, you would have been involved in a major car accident. What you do after these experiences is entirely up to you - you might go broke buying lottery tickets, convinced you're going to win again; you might drive...more
Marialyce
I thought the writing and the story telling was outstanding. Mr. Trevor has a way of making his characters ever so deep but does give the reader the equipment to understand their motivations and what drives them. I think he sums up this book in his own words. "Calamity shaped a life, when long ago, chance was so cruel. Calamity shapes the story that is told, and the reason for its being....

Lucy, a most tragic heroine, makes one mistake and suffers for it in innumerable ways. She lives her life d...more
Mmars
Ask any book lover and I think they will confirm having said “I wonder what was lost in translation.” It seems odd that I thought of that as I read this book. For this was perfectly Irish. Strangely, however, there was no conversational dialect. But rather, the word order and patterning, or the turn of the phrase, made me slow down and reread passages as if needing to translate them in order to understand. I’m not sure if that’s because I haven’t read any Irish authors lately or if Trevor’s styl...more
Sarah
I really wanted to love this book--the premise was so tragic and gothic, and the setting of coastal Ireland so lovely and sad, but ugh. By the end, I found myself skimming pages to see if ANYTHING was going to happen which might compel me to feel anything at all for any of the characters. I felt like I was reading an outline, albeit descriptive, of what the novel was supposed to be when it was actually written. The story, which should have been rife with emotion and character development that ma...more
Joyce
I couldn't put this book down. It is hauntingly beautiful, perfectly written, devastating. I will read it again and again.
Brent
A very sad, powerful book written in clear prose.
trishtrash
Lucy Gault’s family are planning to leave troubled Ireland behind them; their estate and their lives are at risk while they remain; however, it is in leaving that the true rift occurs and the consequences are played out with an emphasis on pathos, but also on forgiveness and healing.

I do not generally do well with ‘redemptive’ tales if there is no particular ‘happy’ or ‘tragic’ ending to hang one’s final feelings for a book on. Lucy Gault’s story was engagingly written and the plight of the char...more
Laysee
The Story of Lucy Gault is a disquieting, haunting, and sad novel worthy of the Booker Prize for which it was nominated in 2002. Faced with the threat of arson to their home (the plight of many Anglo-Irish homes in 1921), Captain Everard and Heloise Gault prepared to flee Lahardane, their modest but much loved estate on the southeast coast of Ireland and go to England. But their daughter, eight-year-old Lucy, was in love with “the glen and the woods and the seashore, the flat rocks where the shr...more
Ben Dutton
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Susan
Jul 12, 2009 Susan added it
[close:] A difficult novel for any parent to read, William Trevor's The Story of Lucy Gault recounts the tale of a young girl whose Protestant family is driven from its rural Irish home in 1921. Eight-year-old Lucy is in love with Lahardane: the old house itself, the woods, the nearby beach, the shells and fir cones and sticks that she collected like treasure. The day before her family is scheduled to flee Ireland, leaving the house and furnishings in the care of trusted servants, Lucy runs away...more
Layla Bing
Having been assigned to read The Story of Lucy Gault: A Novel by my Contemporary Irish Fiction professor, I was expecting a novel that stood on the shoulders of giants. But far from finding a story that drew inspiration from the hauntingly ethereal prose of W.B. Yeats or the Joycean immersive narrative style and devilishly cunning technique of strewing key information out for the careful reader to pick apart and reassamble over time, I found a story that moved forward in stilted, child-like pros...more
Janelle
This was my first William Trevor book. The author bio lists MANY prestigious awards and quite a long bibliography, so I'm a touch embarrassed I haven't heard of him before, but now at least I can say I've read one of his novels.

The Story of Lucy Gault is a deeply atmospheric book. It takes place over most of the 20th century, beginning in 1921 with an act that drives the rest of Lucy's story, and ending at some unknown point in the late 20th or early 21st century (there is a reference to "the In...more
Gina
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Patrick
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Alexander
The inner flap of this book reads:

"In this brilliant, subtle and moving story of love, guilt and forgiveness, Trevor has written a novel that stands among the best literature in the English language."

Lol...I hope others think that's as funny as I do.

'Best literature ever in English' aside, this is one of those 'what-else-ya-got' melancholy books where it seems that the author was engaged in a bet to see if he can write the most unceasingly lugubrious novel possible. Everyone in the book is so sa...more
Aoife
What is amazing about this novel is how deftly Trevor writes a Tragedy built upon a mundane life. It is a series of misunderstandings, miscommunications and ultimately her actions as a child that lead Lucy to destory so much of her own life.

Despite what you may expect from the setting, there is relatively little violence. The focus is not on the turbulent political climate of the era but on the destructive power of loneliness and grief. Lucy lives a wasted life punished by the foolishness of her...more
Neal Adolph
This is a difficult book to rate, because I enjoyed it so much and yet was never really overjoyed by it. I think that is because of the story itself. And so, ignore the rating and read this instead.

William Trevor is often placed in the same exalted halls of contemporary writers as Alice Munro. I love Alice Munro, but until recently hadn't heard of Trevor. I'm glad I have, and took a chance to pick up a couple of his works for my present trip to Ireland. He, like Munro, is a masterful writer. Alm...more
Savvy
Lucy Gault is a defiant child... desperate to change the course of events that are unfolding in her young life. She does the only thing she can do to stop her parents from leaving their beautiful country estate in Ireland at a very turbulent time...she runs away.

In the skillful hands of William Trevor, the sparse, sparkling narrative flows with elegiac effortlessness.

The repercussions from Lucy's immature actions continue to impact all that she loves and cherishes throughout this quietly stunn...more
Elizabeth (Alaska)
This was a quick read, with a relatively fast-moving plot. However, the actions of several of the characters was not believable to me. A good enough read for escape only, and, while I rarely read to escape, it's good to have something to slip in between some more challenging reads.

The basic premise is that some young men come to a country house during the night at the time of turmoil in Ireland prior to partition. One night they poison the dogs, only to return a week later for more dangerous ac...more
Susan Johnson
This is a story of wasted lives and what cculd have been. Sometimes a thoughtless decision causes consequences that last a lifetime. That's what happens to the Gaults. Due to a childish decision by Lucy, the Gaults lives are changed forever. What would have happenened if Lucy had emigrated to England with her parents instead of faking death? Would they have lived better lives? Would they have gone to Italy? Would they have returned to Ireland? It's the unknowing that's the hardest. The reader th...more
Ryan Marquardt
This book left me haunted for a couple of days. It is a tragedy on a personal scale, and quite sad.

Lucy's family is English Protestant, and her father is in the military. When he accidentally shoots a local Irish youth, it sets a chain of events off that lead to her family leaving Ireland. The hitch comes in when Lucy runs off and appears drowned before the departure. Her distraught parents leave, but Lucy is later found alive. Her parents are already oversea when they learn of this.

Lucy's paren...more
Sunni
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James
This is a book of stories within stories. The title character, Lucy Gault, is at the center of these stories, but the genesis of the novel goes back in history for centuries. It is that long that the Gault family has been in Ireland, yet their British origins haunt them to the current day and when uprisings erupt throughout the countryside in the years immediately following WWI, the Gaults (like most Protestant landlords) found themselves in real peril of their lives. When they decide to leave a...more
Anastasia Hobbet
How depressing it is to find that one of my favorite authors has lost his grip on storytelling. The idea for this novel is wonderful, promising, enthralling, even--but Trevor spins it out with tedious flatness, allowing so little to happen in the lives or minds of the characters that I came to a point I'd never reached with Trevor before: I wondered he'd really written it, or like James Patterson, had passed it off to an assistant to produce. The most lamentable part of this effort at a novel is...more
Robert Spencer
I find these sorts of books really annoying. At any moment, any one of these characters could have made things better for themselves, but no, they just had to keep on being melancholy. The overall effect for me was that the plot seemed more and more contrived. I wasn't drawn into these characters at all, they were utterly two dimensional. I mean, really, can anyone who's read this honestly say they were given a deep understanding of Lucy? Or the Captain? The constant misfortune also kept me at a...more
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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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“As the surface of the seashore rocks were pitted by by the waves and gathered limpets that further disguised what lay beneath, so time made truth of what appeared to be. The days that passed, in becoming weeks, still did not disturb the surface an assumption had created. The weather of a beautiful summer continued with neither sign nor hint that credence had been misplaced. The single sandal found among the rocks became a sodden image of death; and as the keening on the pier at Kilauran traditionally marked distres brought by the sea, so did silence at Lahardane.” 6 likes
“Memories can be everything if we choose to make them so. But you are right: you mustn't do that. That is for me, and I shall do it.” 6 likes
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