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The Hill Bachelors

4.05  ·  Rating Details ·  343 Ratings  ·  41 Reviews
His first collection since the bestselling After Rain, William Trevor's The Hill Bachelors is a heartbreaking book about men and women and their missed opportunities: four people live in a suburban house, frozen in a conspiracy of silence that prevents love's consummation; a nine-year-old dreams that a part in a movie will heal her fragmented family life; a brother and sis ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published October 1st 2001 by Penguin Books (first published October 5th 2000)
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Alan
Nov 22, 2016 Alan rated it it was amazing
Shelves: short-stories
re-posting this because the great man has died. RIP William Trevor. It's sad to think there will be no more stories.

here's a short essay I wrote about this book for a series on writing (for beginners) for a local newspaper:

Because of space some feel stories should be relentless, single minded in their plots, marching irrevocably to resolution. However this can lead to stories being too dependent on plotting, twists in the tale and too glib a resolution. Stories like that can be well written, exc
...more
Tony
Oct 22, 2009 Tony rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: irish
Trevor is a superb craftsman. I feel like I am reading an old friend, a familiar voice. These stories, like all Trevor, speak truths. He makes me nod my head; makes me smile. Of these stories, in particular I would recommend The Death of a Professor, which tells the story of an obituary of an academic, placed in the papers by an anonymous practical joker. The reactions of friends, colleagues, a spouse and the 'deceased' are all priceless. Le Visiteur, likewise, will stay with me forever.
Paul
Dec 08, 2012 Paul rated it it was amazing
Incredible shifts in focus from the perspective of one character to another. You begin a story with the unspoken reflections of one character, bound in some kind of intimacy with another. It's like the intimacy between the characters is not made explicit, never stated, but it's there in their silences. You read the words and the connection is made somewhere in the spaces between the words, and it moves me when I intuitively infer the truth of the relationships.
Pauline Ross
This is a collection of short stories set either in the author's native Ireland, or else in England, his later home, with one set in France. He is regarded as a master of the short story, and it's true that each is a little masterpiece of prose, with a skillfully drawn set of characters, an intriguing scenario gradually revealed and a little twist at the end. Each one is a perfect vignette of lives at a moment in time. The stories themselves are often full of pathos, with enough subtleties and ...more
Fiona
Jun 17, 2015 Fiona rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Every one of these short stories is nothing short of perfection. I've never been a great lover of this genre but William Trevor is a master. Every story is poignant and haunting and I find myself thinking about the people in them all the time. Each is a snapshot of people's lives and the thread is the way in which life can often trap us, sometimes because we choose a certain path, sometimes through a sense of duty, and sometimes due to circumstances outwith our control. For me, and I think I've ...more
Frank
Jan 18, 2011 Frank rated it it was amazing
Shelves: irish-authors
More than one reviewer has called William Trevor the greatest writer of short fiction in the English-speaking world and I heartily agree. His simple, soft, un-dramatic prose belies a depth of feeling and intensity that few others can match. Trevor's world is confined to the two islands he has called home, the Britain of his choosing and the Ireland of his birth. The twelve stories here are set in country towns and London suburbs, Munster farms and Ulster villages. It is populated with aged ...more
Tony
May 20, 2015 Tony rated it really liked it
THE HILL BACHELORS. (1997-2000). William Trevor. ****.
A collection of short stories from Trevor is a cause for celebration. Although these twelve stories are kind of related in theme, each can well stand on its own. If you haven’t read any of Trevor’s short stories, you are in for a treat. You will probably be disappointed in the title story, since I thought it was one of the weakest in the collection. With the others, you will likely pause after each one and hesitate going on to the next one un
...more
Mary Kay
Jul 07, 2009 Mary Kay rated it really liked it
William Trevor's short stories are excellent - he captures character, hesitation, and doubt beautifully.
Lynn Vannucci
Mournful, yet somehow hopeful, perfectly crafted short stories.
Sylvia Tedesco
Jun 25, 2008 Sylvia Tedesco rated it it was amazing
William Trevor is in my top five favorite authors. The Hill Bachelors contains the short story "Of the Cloth" which tells the story about a country area in Ireland. The Catholic priest visits an elderly rector and they share their memories, feelings of failure and age. A very special, typical elegiac story with Trevor's sure, light touch."Of the Cloth" is also a penetrating tale of the impact a small act of kindness has over the years. Work like this reveals a perfectly crafted story as one of ...more
Michele
Aug 27, 2013 Michele rated it liked it
Short stories steeped in the Irish psyche and landscape. I first encountered William Trevor a few months back in the break room at work, via his short story "The Women" in The New Yorker. Like that one, these stories are intense, focused, acutely observant, and often with some sort of secret or unspoken event at their core. Excellent examples of subtlety and keenness, though more often melancholy than happy.
Steve Leach
Jan 20, 2011 Steve Leach rated it really liked it
Shelves: short-stories
Read somewhere that, in that critic's opinion, William Trevor and Alice Munro would be the short story writers most highly esteemed by future generations. I've read all of Alice Munro, a favorite, and had only read a couple of Trevor's stories. Now I'm catching up. Both writers are very good with shadings of character and quirky relationships. William Trevor seems a little darker than Alice Munro.
Susan Robin
Feb 18, 2011 Susan Robin rated it liked it
These are very "literary" poignant short stories set in England and Ireland. Deal with some heart-breaking scenarios. Pretty Heavy reading, to tell you the truth. I suspect I would have enjoyed it much more had I not used it as my lunch-time reading, which made for a very interrupted experience. Certainly not this fine author's fault, but mine. Need to stick to readin the newspaper during my very abbreviated lunch periods...
Tenny
Dec 05, 2011 Tenny added it
This is the second William Trevor short story collection I read this year, the first being 'Angels at the Ritz,' and it's staying with me in a way the earlier did not. I'm still trying to understand the broader context of 'The Telephone Game,' while I'm still walking around the characters in 'The Virgin's Gift,' 'Three People' and 'The Hill Bachelors.' 'Death of a Professor' took two reads for me to understand the Roald Dahl trickery of the false obit.
Airin
Oct 30, 2016 Airin rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
La delicatezza è l'elemento caratterizzante di questi quattro racconti. Le trame prendono vita negli occhi del lettore merito di un'attenta descrizione degli ambienti , i personaggi sono ben definiti. "a whiter shade of pale" come sottofondo e l'umidità delle campagne irlandesi contribuiscono a una certa malinconia diffusa.
Dave
Jan 02, 2013 Dave rated it liked it
The 2nd of his collections that I've read, so I'm a bit used to his mastery of the short story, and a bit jaded by the depressing situations and characters. But, I think, still better than almost anything else.
Pam
Aug 22, 2007 Pam rated it it was amazing
This the first collection that I read this summer that made me reconsider my aversion to short stories (Interpreter of Maladies was the other).

It definitely made me want to read more from William Trevor. Wonderful prose, rich characters.
David Haight
Nov 01, 2012 David Haight rated it it was amazing
An astounding collection of stories froma current master of the form. I was utterly blown away by the quiet majesty of these stories about dead ends, missed opportunities and in some cases pathways to grace.
Jack
Jul 28, 2013 Jack rated it liked it
These stories are well written but not all of them captured my interest. Some just plodded along. They also tended very much towards melancholy -- which while sort of an Irish thing is not where I want to be right now. Glad to be moving on to something new.
Carly
Dec 26, 2012 Carly rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was a very slow read for me. Some of the stories, especially the first few, really didn't draw me in. Others were quite good and left me wanting more. So for me, this book is a toss-up. I probably wouldn't recommend it.
Buzz Borders
Cheating at Canasta was a better collection. His writing doesn't really do it for me. There's too much distance between the reader and the characters. With the exception of a few stories....I could leave or take Mr. Trevor.
Mum
Wonderful short stories! Pay attention because the author does not waste one word, in any story! Brilliant! Each story is unique, and transported me with the words and characters.
J
Jul 27, 2013 J rated it liked it
Not as consistently great as After Rain, but Of the Cloth, A Friend in Trade and the Hill Bachelors stand out for me. Heartbreak, melancholy, pensiveness, and frankness pervade his stories.
Michelle
Jul 27, 2013 Michelle marked it as no-thanks
tight perfected short stories, each an astonishing tale with acute psycholigical insights about men and women and their missed opportunites
Crysta
Nov 02, 2012 Crysta rated it really liked it
Several very poignant stories around relationships between men and women - and the near-misses. I'm not sure any of the protagonists really finds satisfaction, but that makes them feel very real.
Melanie  Hilliard
Jan 14, 2008 Melanie Hilliard rated it it was amazing
Extremely well-written short stories, strong example of the craft. I've been interested in Ireland lately and was amazed by the descriptions used and connection to the landscape/earth.
Brett
Aug 15, 2015 Brett rated it really liked it
Definitely a different feel than the last collection of Trevor's I read - more Irish that After Rain...the stories were more arcane, subtle and personal I felt. I always love his stuff though.
Sharon Archer
one depressing story after another...However, they all made us think and most of the stories struck a nerve....a quiet, reflective book...
Jeanne
Oct 09, 2014 Jeanne rated it it was ok
I do like short stories & understand this is Trevor's forte. Very intense writing & often quite bleak, so can only take it in small bites & need to read something cheery in between.
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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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