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The Collected Stories

4.47  ·  Rating details ·  1,496 ratings  ·  87 reviews
The Collected Stories - a stunning volume of William Trevor's unforgettable short stories

William Trevor is one of the most renowned figures in contemporary literature, described as 'the greatest living writer of short stories in the English language' by the New Yorker and acclaimed for his haunting and profound insights into the human heart. Here is a collection of his sho
Paperback, 1262 pages
Published September 25th 2003 by Penguin (first published 1992)
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4.47  · 
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 ·  1,496 ratings  ·  87 reviews

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Mar 24, 2011 is currently reading it
Shelves: fiction, 20-ce, stories, uk
I tend to think of William Trevor as Ireland's John Cheever, whose work was known to me first. There are no doubt myriad differences between the two writers, but what they have in common seems to me too striking to ignore. There is a certain preference for bibulous, upper middle-class, affluent couples. People bored with their creature comforts and their money and their children and their marriages; professional people, usually, bored too with their jobs and their tawdry affairs and their colle ...more
Feb 01, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everybody
Recommended to Mosca by: Harpers Magazine???

Somewhere about around 30 years ago, I read the short story "In Love with Ariadne" either in a laundromat, waiting in an airport, or bored above the Arctic Circle in winter, or ....something. I think it was in the "Atlantic Magazine", or some other.

I, almost immediately, also, fell in love with Ariadne. And with the writing of William Trevor.

That short story and many, many others are collected in this book. And any one who has read William Trevor will not need
Sep 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Dear William Trevor,

Our nine months together is over and I feel a burden lifted. Lifting your hefty 1262 page book at least a couple times a week and opening it to a world of sad, lonely, damaged lives was not easy. Over time, it became harder to pick up, because I came to realize that you would never, NEVER, allow a hopeful ending for a story. Not even once. I often gazed at the cheerful smile on your cover photo and wondered what prompted the despair in your writing.

You are a masterful short
Vit Babenco
Apr 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
“I am writing this in the drawing-room, in fact at Mrs Ashburton’s writing-desk. I don’t think of it as a story – and certainly not as a letter, for she can never read it – but as a record of what happened in her house after the war. If she hadn’t talked to me so much when I was nine there would not be this record to keep, and I would not still feel her presence. I do not understand what has happened, but as I slowly move towards the age she was when she talked to me I slowly understand a little ...more
Anastasia Fitzgerald-Beaumont
Over the years I’ve derived so much enjoyment from short stories, in some ways my favourite literary genre alongside the critical essay. I really began when I was little with myths and folktales, a tradition for which I still retain considerable affection. By the age of ten or so I was reading Edgar Allan Poe’s Tales of Mystery and Imagination. From there, in successive stages, I discovered such wonderful story tellers as William Somerset Maugham (his Far Eastern stories are a particular favouri ...more
Mar 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: grown-up-books
Brilliant. The best short stories I have ever read. The range of characters, of misery, and of humor are absolutely incredible. Trevor can make you laugh while a pit of dread simultaneously opens in your gut. So typically Irish, that--after all, you never laugh so much as at an Irish wake.
A few characteristic lines to give you the flavor:
"As she did every morning after breakfast, Mrs. Abercrombie recalled her husband's death."
"She was a woman like a sack of something, Jenny considered, with thic
Jul 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
On November 1, 1992 Viking published the entire first seven collections of short stories of one William Trevor, called the "greatest living writer of short stories" by Booker prizewinning Irish author John Banville. This awesome tome has 1296 pages. The NY Times Book Review calls the stories "treasures of gorgeous writing, brilliant dialogue, and unforgettable lives."

For a taste of Trevor, may I recommend a smaller Penquin paperback entitled IRELAND (1998) that contains two of my favorite storie
Apr 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing
These are the best short stories I have ever read. In just a few pages, Mr. Trevor creates an entire universe. I am enjoying this collection so much that I am only read a story a day and decided to not finish this at this time. That way I can return to it and read a new story. This is simply the best. Any person who is a fan of short stories must read these. And if you don't like short stories, you will still like these stories since he tells a novel in a matter of pages.
Jun 22, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This is one of those books that will always be on my night table as I read and reread these gems. Excellence in short story writing is a rare talent and the fact that William is a fellow Irishman is only a grateful coincidence! Until my mid-life I had considered Anton Chekhov as the king of short stories and while he will never be dethroned William Trevor is sitting squarely at his right hand and only a little lower in the pantheon. Describing Trevor's short story style is impossible and analysi ...more
Ashley Memory
Jul 26, 2010 rated it it was amazing
The variety and texture in these gems by the greatest short story writer still living (and still published in the New Yorker) make this collection a reason to be stranded on a desert island. If this fat book were a floatation device, I’d jump ship and never be seen again.

This book inspired me to write, to experience the joy of creating my own community of lovable humans, foibles and all.
Claire Fuller
Hmm, very mixed. Maybe four 5-star stories, but lots more 2s. A great many women who go mad, awkward parties, and infidelity. I much prefer his novels.
Michael Tweed
Dec 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Such a long journey of discovery and delight for anyone reading this masterpiece.
Ali Nazifpour
Oct 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
First of all, let me begin by saying that William Trevor was probably not a human being but a machine which could print masterpieces. Although this book is a collection of all his stories, it reads a lot like a selection. In the entire 1260 pages there were only two stories that I found weak, and a very large number that I found to be groundbreaking masterpieces. Trevor is definitely a writer at the same level of the greatest short story writers of all time, along with giants like O Henry, Chekh ...more
Josh Ang
Mar 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a fantastic collection of short stories that has kept me fascinated for much of the three years I spent dipping in and out of its 1200+ pages of varied and masterfully written tales. I am hard pressed to find a single dud story in this hefty volume, and what is more amazing is that this collection only contains Trevor’s extensive oeuvre up to the early 90s. It even includes his novella, Matilda’s England which fully deserves a review of its own as an independent work. Trevor’s skill at u ...more
Feb 06, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Amazing. Though these stories are set in Ireland, England, and Scotland for the most part, and the scenery is lovingly described and the way of life very clearly presented, they could be happening anywhere -- the human emotion and complexity of relationships and inner worlds is as well described as anything I've ever read. These stories suck you in and leave you thinking. I've never read better. This book took me a while to get through because it is so hefty, but it was well worth the time and t ...more
Ryan Williams
Nov 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Virtually everyone says that Trevor was the greatest living writer of short fiction on our side of the pond. It seems odd that it took The New Yorker until the late 70s (Trevor's career started 20 years earlier) to print his work. (‘Torridge’ was his first story in that magazine.)

The early stories - especially the ones set in England - have a tetchiness that grates, though that quickly fades into empathy as the collection rolls on. The mature Trevor has more compassion for his characters than an
Anne Sanow
Feb 08, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Trevor can seem quiet and traditional, but he's really rather brilliantly subversive in the way he manages to step away from authorial pronouncement and just let the characters reveal themselves. So much contemporary Irish literature is steeped in shamrocks, bogs, and sentimental blarney, but not Trevor's Ireland: this is social- and class-consciousness at its sharpest. Everything's good in this collection--for my money, Trevor is simply incapable of writing a bad story. As just one example, see ...more
Dec 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
No reader should be deprived of William Trevor. So what if the book is over 1200 pages? So what if I really didn't read all the stories? Most stories contain remarkable and memorable characters with dialogue so wonderfully original, his writing cannot be compared to any other writer. (There are those that say Chekhov; if pressed I might say Alice Munro.) Trevor died just a few weeks ago which prompted me to pick up this (paperback) brick of a book. I don't think he has ever gotten the attention ...more
Oct 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing
At nearly 1,300 pages this is the best book ever. One day I couldn't stop reading and read 500 pages. Mr. Trevor's Selected Stories was listed as one of the top 5 on the New York Times list last year - this is better - lots more to read! He is compared to Alice Munro and rightly so as he can really tell a wonderful insightful tale all in just a few pages. A must read.
Yes, 1300 pages of fine short stories that get into the hearts and minds of rather normal if marginalized and discontented Irish and British middle-class characters grappling with the uncertainties and crosscurrents of society and life in the second half of the 20th century.

Several of the first few stories involved alcohol, and usually too much of it, but Trevor thereafter generally avoided that element. This, along with my puzzlement at his description of some faces as "sharp", are mere quibble
Sean Durham
May 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
I've been reading this book of William Trevor's Short-Stories on and off for a while, now. The stories are enjoyable and often turn into "quaint" ideas of a moment in a life. Two people having a bad day while driving a car, not much happens but the way the story is told is lovely to read.

Another story that unexpectedly bends itself into a surrealistic tale of the end of life for a little old lady - or maybe not the end but a new beginning.

I read his writing because it is thoughtful and has the c
Sarah Allen
Nov 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I read 10 of Trevor's stories from this book for an adult education class and will read more of them although reading will not be nearly as fulfilling without my classmates' inputs. We often read entirely different meanings into his stories which demonstrates what a great writer of short stories he was. His stories are mostly what I call "slice of life" stories where the reader is just observing a part of the characters' lives with no conclusions drawn by the author about the meaning or the futu ...more
Neil Griffin
Feb 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I started this book in 2016 and ended it in 2018. Yes, partially because it's the longest book ever written, but, more importantly, it was a perfect book to pick up and read a story or two a night, and I never really wanted it to end. His stories are empathetic, tightly plotted, sad as all hell, and sometimes quite bleakly hilarious.

The blurb on my edition of this book calls him "The Greatest Living Short Story Writer" and while that may no longer be the case, I think there is an argument to be
Maura Driscoll
Jul 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
RD Chiriboga Moncayo
Sep 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I read this superb collection while traveling through Ireland; several of them deal with its troubled past and I appreciate those the most.
Jul 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I very much enjoy these stories.
Jun 06, 2018 rated it liked it
A pleasant collection - nothing stunning but nothing poorly. Kept me going in the long afternoons.
Daniel Namie
Jan 02, 2017 is currently reading it
“On our birthday, on the night of our birthday, Richard will make love to me in the bed you slept in for nine years. You have access to the children. You can demand no more.”

The quote written above was taken from William Trevor’s short story Access to the Children. The title of the short story is interesting because the story is not about the children. Access to the children is a sub-plot used to build-up the main plot, which is Malcolmson’s regret, loss, and no identity.

Malcolmson regrets leavi
Jack Long
Nov 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Stephen Schiff penned a huge epic piece on Trevor in the December 28, 1992 New Yorker, Vol.68, Issue 45, pg. 158 titled, "The Shadows of William Trevor," whereby he spent time at Trevor's home. This paragraph pretty much sums up Trevor's work:

"As certainly as there is a bluegrass-and-swimming pool suburbia that will forever be remembered as Cheever Country, there must also be a Trevor Territory: backward villages in England or Ireland with narrow streets full of dogs and bicycles and small boys
Maureen Henderson
Jan 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
William Trevor's short stories are the best written in English since James Joyce experimented with epiphanies. They are not for the faint of heart. Trevor's tales build quietly, using humor and quotidian detail to delay an uneasy knowledge of coming events that the reader comes to see must unfurl, at some point, by story's end. Even in his least subtle tales, however (and these are rare), I've always found myself respectfully approaching his endings. He is the master of the slow, glancing, but i ...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