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Selected Stories

4.28 of 5 stars 4.28  ·  rating details  ·  277 ratings  ·  42 reviews
A marvelous collection from "the greatest living writer of short stories in the English language" (The New Yorker).

Four-time winner of the O. Henry Prize, three-time winner of the Whitbread Prize, and five-time finalist for the Man Booker Prize, William Trevor is one of the most acclaimed authors of our time. Over a career spanning more than half a century, Trevor has c
Hardcover, 576 pages
Published November 4th 2010 by Viking (first published October 25th 2010)
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New York Times 100 Notable Books of 2010
34th out of 100 books — 640 voters
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Community Reviews

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This collects (not selects, as the title suggests) Trevor's four most recent books of stories in their entirety. Of the 48 stories, not one may be called second-rate, though some are clearly standouts.
Trevor's writing is straightforward, his register quiet. Charles McGrath said in a Times review: "He is not a clever or metaphorical writer. Nothing in a Trevor story is “like” something else; things are what they are." These stories are as close to real life as fiction gets. Trevor's mastery of
I received this as a Christmas present and I didn't know William Trevor at all, but what an amazing collection. The highest praise I can give it is that I had a hard time reading two stories in a row: the characters were so beautifully drawn that it was completely disjointing to skip immediately to someone new. Emotionally, I needed a break in between. Great, great short story writer.
Trevor is indeed a master of the short story. This collection plumbs the depth and breadth of his efforts in this form.

The writer exerts strong narrative control of his stories, most told in omniscient voice with an Irish cadence. The shifts and climaxes are subtle, and often sad. The themes are adult relationships, immigration, guilt, religion, abuse, revolution and death. Trevor's Irish immigrants always fare badly in the new country, be that England or America, and they return to the home co
Brad Hodges
This book, Selected Stories, is, as the title suggests, a selection of William Trevor's stories. There are 48 stories here, which is an indication of the man's prolificacy. Most of the stories are about ten pages long, with one major exception I'll get to. They are prosaically titled: some titles include: "A Day," "Three People," "The Children," "The Room," "A Friendship." Almost all of them are set in Ireland (Trevor's birthplace) and England (his current residence), although a few are set in F ...more
Eric Kibler
Trevor is the successor to the James Joyce who wrote Dubliners by James Joyce, but not the Joyce of the later works. His stories represent not an experiment in style, but the refinement of style. Trevor is a master of the short story form.

The stories are slow burners. Usually they start with a character engaged in a familiar routine in a given milieu (which is usually rural Ireland). Soon a twist in perception occurs and the reader finds himself aware of the characters' internal struggles. Often there's a darker eleme
Paul Cockeram
Whenever I’m sitting around with other people who are passionate about their reading and writing, and the subject of the best living writers comes up, sooner or later someone mentions William Trevor. He shows up regularly in the “Best of” and O. Henry anthologies. He has written, it seems, hundreds of short stories and dozens of novels. In school, I bought his collected stories for a class and ended up reading all 1,000+ pages. So I knew that sooner or later Trevor would come back around, but I ...more
NY Times best book # 7. It's gonna be 2012 before I finish the ten best books of 2010. So glad I gave myself assigned pleasure reading while in grad school. I think I need an intervention.
This is an old Irish guy I had never heard of. Turns out he's written about a million books. I really like most of these short stories.
March 2011. A few weeks ago the NY Times released its 10 best books of 2010. It came as no surprise to me that SELECTED STORIES of William Trevor, a volume of 48 stories published in November, was one of the ten. SELECTED STORIES contains short fiction from Trevor's most recent collections...After Rain (1996), The Hill Bachelors (2000), A Bit on the Side (2004), and Cheating at Canasta (2007). The NY Times Book Review calls the stories "treasures of gorgeous writing, brilliant dialogue, and unfo ...more
These are technical masterworks but in general, I found myself just not caring about very many of these stories. Granted, I didn't get to all of them. But other than that they were in this big, honking book I'd picked up on Trevor's reputation, I don't know what was supposed to compel me beyond the first few paragraphs here.

Authority and sure-footedness are great qualities to bring to a roadside sobriety test. But for me, fiction requires a little more raw-throated zip.
There’s wonderfully deliberate pacing in these stories, and familiar truths in all that I’ve read. There’s also something overcast in them; they move forward slowly, as life does, usually revealing some sort of pain or bittersweet-ness in the characters’ lives.

They’re all subtly brilliant and insightful, though sometimes reading them has the effect of someone draping a thick blanket over you slowly as you settle into sleep. You know these characters, are related to them, went to school with them
Wonderful collection of short stories. Not a genre I typically like but some of the stories are spellbinding. Extremely well written to boot.
Incredible writer! Conveys the depths of human emotion in simple, nearly perfect stories.
Holly Foley (Procida)
Had never heard of William Trevor and had never really wanted to visit Ireland. Now though, I have marked up a map with all of the villages and spots of interest from the short stories and I am dying to visit them and see if they are what they seem. True, many of the stories had very depressing themes, but I found powerful lessons in most of them and characters, situations and settings that will last with me for a while. I might suggest a sampling, rather then cover to cover to my good reads fri ...more
Brian Wang
Don't read it in a rush
Erin Fanning
William Trevor is such a powerful writer that words fall away, punctuation disappears, and the reader feels as if she's entered the story, watching the characters interact and actually hearing their conversations. My only complaint is that the stories are often dark and there can be a feeling of doom; yet, Trevor captures the full range of human emotion, putting into words feelings and thoughts that are difficult to express.

This is a comprehensive collection of Trevor's stories.
Most of them are set in post war Ireland and reflect the
culture and rural society of its people. Two of the stories
I loved are Rose Wept and At Olivehill. I like to read
as story before bed, as one can finish it in 30 minutes.
Trevor is a beautiful writer.
This 567 page book of short stories is a perfect gem. A gem, only if you are a William Trevor fan. I read a story every night and thoroughly enjoy the sentence structure and language. Trevor slips into the life of his various characters and crafts an everyday tale. Some find his work dark. I find his observations true to life.
Jan 31, 2011 Saranne added it
Shelves: good
William Trevor's short story "After the Rain" really hit home for me. I would like to read that story again. I did not make it through the whole collection of short stories - they are good stories but depressing. They give an accuracy and insight into the human condition which when viewed........sadens the soul.
Trevor's stories are addictive. You think, "I'll just have one." Then you eat the whole box. Some (OK, most) are sad, some are quite funny, some are creepy, but none a wasted ingredient.
Ingrid Erwin
I am not usually a fan of short stories, but this compilation was wonderful. The subject matter of the stories varied widely. One of the notes on the back of the edition I read summed it up perfectly. These are "exquisitely rendered tales that illuminate the human condition."
Absolutely beautiful writing with amazing character development and insight. Excellent, thought-provoking short stories.

The Piano Tuner's Wives
The Hill Bachelors
Child's Play
A Bit on the Side
Cheating at Canasta
Sitting with the Dead
A Perfect Relationship
Anthony Diers
Births, lives, loves and death in Ireland; you'd think there would be some joy here. Plodding, somber and humorless lives, perhaps that's how it is.
I bought the anthology after reading a Trevor story in another collection.
Too much of a good thing! I finished it though.
These finely sculpted and timeless stories provide a greater appreciation for finding beauty in the minutiae of daily life.

For the complete list of 2012 Notable Books winners, please visit RUSA Awards 2012
Powerful, evocative, brilliant, scintillating ... all of that and more. Wlliam Trevor upholds the highest Irish literary standards.
This is one of the very finest collections of stories I have ever read,
like reading Joyce's best.
Catherine Woodman
Wonderful Irish author, whose lengthy book of short stories gives a panorama or rural Ireland that is lyrical and complicated. I am not a fan of the genre, but this book is spectacular.
Well-written short stories are a joy, and this new collection of William Trevor is full of one excellent story after another. Painful, graceful, full of the hard truths learned in life.
unfair rating in that I only read 2 of the many short stories. I think this rating is more about my general dislike of short stories than this particular author or book.

I liked the stories, but decided that I'm much more of a novel or nonfiction person because I just wanted to know more and wanted more character development.
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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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