The Hill Bachelors

Trevor, William

Published by Viking Adult
ISBN 10: 0670893730 / ISBN 13: 9780670893737
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Synopsis: A brilliant new short story collection from the bestselling author of Felicia's Journey and Death in Summer

William Trevor has long been hailed as the master of the short story. His new collection, The Hill Bachelors, is an elegant, heartbreaking book about men and women and their missed opportunities. Here we meet three people in a small suburban house whose lives are frozen in a conspiracy of silence that precludes love's consummation: a nine-year-old who harbors a dream that a movie part will win her the greatest trophy of all--an end to her fragmented family life; a brother and sister who must forge a new life amid the terrible beauty of Ireland after the rebellion; and in the title story, a young man who must choose between a life with his longtime love and a life of solitude--wedded only to the family farm.

Much like his bestselling collection, After Rain, these twelve beautifully rendered tales once again prove Trevor's unrivaled sympathy for the human condition.

"There is no better short story writer in the English-speaking world."--The Wall Street Journal

"With his exquisite control of language and unsparing vision, Trevor serves up the pain of ordinary life with such precision that it feels like a physical ache to comprehend it." --The Boston Sunday Globe

Review: In more than two dozen books, William Trevor has recounted heartbreaking narratives with an extraordinary economy of detail and expression. The stories collected in The Hill Bachelors are cut from this same understated cloth, and reveal a master at the very height of his powers. As usual, only the merest tip of the emotional iceberg breaks the surface of his prose. Yet Trevor invariably points us toward submerged memories, traumas, and desires, ennobling the ordinary with an often tragic grandeur.

Renunciation--be it personal, political, familial, or erotic--is usually at the core of these tales. In the title story, for example, 29-year-old Paulie returns to work the land of his fathers on a desolate hillside in the west of Ireland, fully aware that he will henceforth be unable to marry: "Enduring, unchanging, the hills had waited for him, claiming one of their own." "A Friend in the Trade" revolves around unrequited love, while the hero of "The Mourning" ultimately rejects the so-called heroism of sectarian violence. Most of The Hill Bachelors is set in Ireland, and boast a richness of imagery and lyrical intensity that verges on prose poetry. "Low Sunday, 1950" in particular evokes the terrible beauty of Yeats's history-haunted landscapes. And in "The Virgin's Gift," a prodigal son makes his long-awaited return, eliciting the closest that William Trevor ever comes to a Joycean epiphany: "No choirs sang, there was no sudden splendor, only limbs racked by toil in a smoky hovel, a hand that blindly searched the air. Yet angels surely held the cobwebs of this mercy, the gift of a son given again." --Robert Mighall

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Title: The Hill Bachelors
Publisher: Viking Adult
Book Condition: Good

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