In a sad loss to the literary world, Penguin Random House Ireland has announced that Irish short story writer William Trevor has passed away at the age of 88.
Best known for his short stories, Mr. Trevor was an accomplished novelist, sculptor and artist whose works captured the invisible dark side of everyday life.
“If you take the sadness out of life itself,” Trevor once told the Guardian, “so you take away a big and a good thing, because being sad is a lot like being guilty. They both get really bad press, but in fact, guilt isn’t as bad a position as it is. ‘It’s done People should feel guilty sometimes. I’ve written a lot about guilt. I think it can be something that really makes people new. “
Trevor was born William Trevor Cox in Ireland in 1928. His parents, Protestants in a Catholic country, travel frequently for the career of the family patriarch as bank manager.
Although Trevor eventually moved to a remote mill in Devon, Britain, his Irish experience was evident in his stories, which focused on the small towns and hamlets of Ireland and Britain. Trevor drew on decades of experience for his stories, often writing about sad and unusual people who lived in these small towns.
Trevor’s stories captured the struggles large and small of the people who lived in these so-called “backward villages”, finding the threads that linked the village experience to the greater human struggle. Sometimes he wrote about the social and religious conflict between Protestant and Catholic communities in Ireland. Sometimes he wrote about the rivalry between reunited comrades.
“The great challenge of writing is always to find the universal in the local, the parochial,” Trevor told The Times. “And for that, you need distance. “
Although he is best known as a writer, Trevor began his career as a teacher at a preparatory school in Northern Ireland. While teaching, Trevor began to take an interest in sculpture. But it wasn’t until he started writing that Trevor really found his art form.
Years later, Trevor would think he loved writing because he loved people, telling The Times in 1990: “I sometimes think all the people that were missing in my sculpture sprung in the stories. “
Indeed, Trevor’s popularity has grown in large part thanks to his ability to capture the real human in his eccentric characters.
“Each character is someone I know very well – as well as I know myself. You become very interested in that person. You become immensely curious and immensely curious,” he told an interviewer in the 1980s, as reported by the New York Times. “I’m kind of a predator, an invader of people.”
A master of the art form, Trevor liked the necessary brevity of the short story, which he said forced the author to expose the bare bones of the truth.
“It should be an explosion of truth,” Trevor told the Paris Review. “His strength lies in what he leaves out as much as what he puts in, if not more.”
Trevor is survived by his wife of 64 years, Jane Ryan, and two sons.