A Bit on the Side
I've read other stories by Trevor that I've liked more, but I still liked this collection quite a bit. After finishing a story, I'd page back to see how he employs his craft, such deceptively simple details leading toward a cohesive whole.
I especially enjoyed the stories that alternated between two characters' viewpoints: "An Evening Out," "On the Streets" a ...more
This is a collection of twelve short stories by Trevor, most of which had appeared previously in ‘The New Yorker’ magazine. The author is a writer of analytic bent. Passions, feelings, and any raw emotions rarely make their way into his stories. That is not to say that they are not there, but they are there so that the characters can look and think about them objectively. These tales have little in common with each other, although extramarital or o ...more
Of all things, William Trevor certainly is gifted in his form. Writing a short story means creating lasting effects quickly and precisely. We do not get alot of details about the people in A Bit on the Side but ...more
This collection was recommended to me in particular for the child character portrayal in "Solitude." Trevor's technique in the child perspective is interesting. I like how when the narrator is a child all you get is matter of fact observations and recitation of judgments spouted by the adult characters, even when the main turning point of the story ...more
Sitting with the Dead - The death of a peckerhead... As usual Mr. T focuses in on stunted lives and bad decisions lived with. As usual he brings it home strong - a typical Trevor flourish: bitterness, regret, despair. Reminds me of Alice Munro's "Runaway"...
Traditions - I'd read this one before in the New Yorker. Many in the collection were first published ...more
Well, exquisite as Trevor’s writing craft is, it is often a bit too obvious. The carefully chosen scene. The details of the passing landscape or human ...more
The closest comparison in English is Dubliners, by James Joyce, and not only because both writers are Irish. Joyce through sheer economy and prose music comes out ahead, but this doesn’t discredit Trevor much. Both writers focus on the private moments of private people, looking for some miracle of happiness or sadness in life, somethi ...more
Also, I love short stories, and I hadn't read trevor yet.
The stories were ok. I liked most of them, but not all. Today, 3 months later, I can't really recall any of them, which proves that they weren't in any way outstanding, but that could also be due to the fact that at the time I also read the excel ...more
"If one were to pick a single word to characterize A Bit on the Side, it would be forlorn," writes Michael Dirda in the Washington Post. Here, as in his two dozen or so collections of short fiction and novels (see The Story of Lucy Gault, ****1/2 Jan/Feb 2003), Trevor introduces credible characters beset by hopelessness. But these Chekhovian stories, many previously published in The New Yorker, offer anything but hopeless reading. Trevor is a master of simple, quiet prose and psychological intui...more
I think the author did a good job of capturing the starkness and conflicts of small town living (all the stories are set in Ireland). Though all the setting were similar, each story was distinct as characters grappled with differnt ...more
It was without doubt the worst narration I have ever come acorss - Josephine Bailey and Simon Vance gave us "Oirish" accents to beat Darby O'Gill and the Little People, mispronouncing both place names and even worse common Irish surnames, this really grated. Even the stories that weren't set in Ireland didn't come across with any warmth or passion.
I would wholeheartedly ...more
'Your mother,' Fina said, and she watched him guessing that his mother was dead now. 'I'm sorry, John Michael,' she said. 'I'm sorry.'
Four of the stories were gratifying: "Sitting with the Dead," "Big Bucks," "The Dancing Master's Music," and "A Bit on the Side." The others I found to be less enjoyable.
There were elements of the writing style worthy of reflection and possible emulation.