Solitude by William Trevor – Selection 2 of #DealMeIn2018

The Card: ♥Ace♥ of Hearts

The Suit: For 2018, I have devoted the suit of ♥♥♥Hearts♥♥♥ to stories by Irish writer William Trevor, a widely acknowledged titan of the short story form. He passed away last year; how sad that there will be no more new stories from his pen.

The Selection: Solitude, from William Trevor: Selected Stories. I selected it solely because of the title, for I am among those who often enjoy solitude. 🙂

The Author: William Trevor. I became acquainted with Trevor through his collection, “After Rain,” which I acquired back in 2010. The title story of that volume after rainremains one of my all time favorites. I blogged about it here. There are a couple other stories of his that I’ve blogged about before, Gilbert’s Mother and Lost Ground.

What is Deal Me In? I’m glad you asked!  Full details may be found here  but generally speaking it’s a reading challenge where participants read one short story a week for the year, the reading order being determined by the luck of the draw. See here for the list of stories I’ll be reading in 2018. Check the sidebar for links to other book bloggers who are participating in this year’s challenge.

Solitude

“In the hotel where I live, in Bordighera’s Regina Palace, my friends are the dining-room waiters, and the porters in the hall, and the bedroom maids; I do not turn away such friendship and I have myself for company too. Yet when my face is there in the glass of my compact, or reflected in shop windows when the sun is right, or glimpsed in public mirrors, I often think I do not know that woman. I wonder when I gaze for a moment longer if what I see is the illusion imposed by my imagination upon the shadow a child became, if somehow I do not entirely exist. I know that this is not so, yet still it seems to be.“

This story is the first person account of a girl named Villana told from when she was a little girl of undisclosed age (though young enough to still have imaginary friends) to being a teenager, to being fifty-three years old and living on after the death of her parents. It’s the evolution of her relationship with the parents across the decades that makes this story worth reading.

When Villana is in her youth, her father is often absent (he’s a kind of “wanna be Egyptologist”) which leads her mother to find a new (male) “friend.” While they are certainly not the first family to encounter such “difficulties,” their case is made especially painful due to the mother & friend’s careless lack of discretion, which leads to Villana witnessing something “no child ever should.”

How this “secret” effects Villana then, and at different stages of her life is the engine that drives the story, which takes some twists and turns – including a real shocker that is thrown in, if only by implication. Her later life seems a sad and incomplete one, as the quotation shared above no doubt let’s you know. Perhaps it is her parents’ “normalizing” the past indiscretion – or at least not making a “big deal” out of it, which contributes most to her life of solitude.

“There is no regret on my mother’s part that I can tell, nor is there bitterness on his; I never heard a quarrel.”

Maybe if there had been a standard “row” about it there would have been closure for her, and she would have led a more normal life. Certainly a sad story, but one well told.

Two down and fifty to go! How did your #DealMeIn2018 reading go this week?

 

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11 Comments

  1. N@ncy said,

    January 10, 2018 at 1:13 pm

    2 down 50 to go….as well!
    Any short story by Trevor is worth reading. His novel Love and Summer was a disappoint. I just discovered Trevor won 1996 Lannan Prize for Poetry! I did not know that! Great review, Jay!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jay said,

      January 10, 2018 at 1:17 pm

      Thanks, Nancy! Yes, and he’s definitely one of my favorites too – and I get to read him TWELVE more times this year as part of Deal Me In! Woohoo! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Dale said,

    January 10, 2018 at 8:23 pm

    This sounds very familiar even though its been a while since I’ve read William Trevor. I might have to make Trevor my wild cards this year. It’s definitely worth thinking about.

    I only have 1 down as of right now, but I will be reading Lorrie Moore’s “How to Become a Writer” this week.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jay said,

      January 11, 2018 at 9:11 am

      I’ve read Lorrie Moore before (“And you’re Ugly Too” I think was the name of it) and I know she’s made some other DMI appearance via other participants. I will look forward to hearing about it at Mirror With Clouds. – Jay

      Liked by 1 person

      • Dale said,

        January 11, 2018 at 9:55 pm

        Yeah, I read “You’re Ugly, Too” a few years ago and remember enjoying it. I’m looking forward to reading this one.

        Like

  3. Alex said,

    January 11, 2018 at 9:07 am

    Hi Jay! Glad to see Deal Me In is still alive and kicking! I’m planning a slow return to blogging and it’s great to see that some book blogging friends are still going strong!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jay said,

      January 11, 2018 at 9:10 am

      Alex!! So great to hear from you! Yes, Deal Me In is in its 8th(!) year. I can hardly believe it. Hope all is well with you, and I will look forward to your “slow return to blogging.” 🙂
      -Jay

      Like

  4. Bellezza said,

    January 14, 2018 at 10:41 pm

    I have read two as well, Paris for One by JoJo Moyes and a SPECTACULAR classic called The Open Window. (Here is the link: https://dolcebellezza.net/2018/01/14/the-open-window-a-short-story-by-saki-its-so-good/) Thanks for hosting; I am finally appreciating this genre!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jay said,

      January 15, 2018 at 9:07 am

      The Open Window is a great one. I remember being wowed by the ending when I first read it. I am glad to hear you are starting to get into the short story format 🙂

      Like

  5. vidyatiru said,

    January 16, 2018 at 2:29 am

    Jay – This story you have picked sounds like one I need to read – replacing one of my wild cards with this one!!
    And ‘The Open Window’ is my favorite Saku story…
    This is my 2nd week read – http://www.ladyinreadwrites.com/magic-monday-childrens-book-reviews-short-stories/

    Liked by 1 person


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