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The Boarding-House

3.81  ·  Rating Details ·  99 Ratings  ·  8 Reviews
This is the story of a boarding house full of weird people and its owner, William Wagner, who creates a unique atmosphere.
Paperback, 254 pages
Published 1968 by Penguin Books (first published 1965)
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(showing 1-30)
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Jul 29, 2016 Fiona rated it liked it
Shelves: general-fiction
Mr Bird, the landlord of the boarding house, dies and the scene is set to tell the personal stories of the collection of oddball characters who lodge there, all of them selected by Mr Bird over the years. I didn't find this a very satisfying read. I'm a huge fan of William Trevor but this is a very early work. I find it hard to believe that the person who wrote this book also wrote The Story of Lucy Gault. It's well enough written but it's too wordy for me. Too full of unnecessary conversations ...more
Chris Rigby
Jan 13, 2015 Chris Rigby rated it really liked it
Mervyn Peake would probably have enjoyed "The Boarding House". Maybe he did - Peake was still alive when it was published. William Trevor has constructed his own miniature Gormenghast: a petty little surreal kingdom where a bunch of misfit inadequates squabble and bicker, and carve out their own niches.

Set in London SW17 in 1964, the boarding house of the title is the type of institution that already - as Trevor notes - is going out of fashion in favour of the bed sitting room, an arrangement th
Mar 30, 2014 Peter rated it really liked it
Delightful little novel from very early in Trevor's career (1965). Unexpectedly funny, yet still with Trevor's usual lonely sadness. Also surprising is Trevor's effective use of a third person omniscient narrator, with the perspective changing from character to character, sometimes even within the same paragraph. In most of the Trevor fiction I've read, he focuses on a single character. But THE BOARDING-HOUSE is about community (specifically, the tiny community of the boarding house), and this f ...more
Apr 07, 2016 Zoom rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I like his writing and his sense of humour and the way he does dialogue. And I liked the premise of this story, but it never seemed to get off the ground. The characters were amusing, but I didn't care about any of them. He made me curious as to what was going to happen, but then he didn't deliver.

I'm not prepared to give up on William Trevor just yet. I've read two novels, and given them both three stars. I've got a big fat book of his short stories, so I'll try a few of those and see if those
Douglas Roberts
Aug 06, 2014 Douglas Roberts rated it liked it
Funny and depressing. I'd only read one other, much later, William Trevor book, so wasn't expecting this at all. A farce of lonely and absurd characters.
A cross between a Patrick Hamilton and Shirley Jackson novel, where a bunch of lonely misfits find their boarding house falls apart once their landlord dies.
May 18, 2012 Frank rated it really liked it
Shelves: irish-authors
One of Trevor's earliest works, in the mode of The Old Boys and The Love Department, About those quirky, quare folk from John Bull's original island as can only be appreciated by an emirgré from that other island.

I found a lovely hardcover first US edition on line (not the one pictured), which appears never to have been opened. I really enjoyed it.
Aug 10, 2011 Mariann rated it liked it
I loved the characters in this book. They were nuanced and human in a very eccentric way. I will read more of this author
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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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