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Death in Summer by William Trevor

Death in Summer (original 1998; edition 1999)

by William Trevor

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3621430,006 (3.68)20
Title:Death in Summer
Authors:William Trevor
Info:Penguin (Non-Classics) (1999), Paperback, 224 pages
Collections:Your library, General Fiction, Audiobooks
Tags:Fiction, Irish, 20th century

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Death in Summer by William Trevor (1998)



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Showing 1-5 of 13 (next | show all)
Good read but not an easy read. Changing perspectives quickly without warning but rewarding. Very well written. ( )
  charlie68 | Aug 29, 2014 |
*** Spoiler alert ***

It was darker than his other work as the title would suggest. It is set in the home counties and tells the story of Thaddeus who owns a house with his wife Letitia. There is a nice twist in the end. It feels a bit more compelling than Trevor's usual but is as readable as ever. It dwells on child abuse and growing up in an orphanage which affects two of the characters in different ways. ( )
  jerhogan | Jun 29, 2013 |
That Trevor will get you if you don't watch out. This was not my favorite of his. Once I saw what he was doing, I skipped to see how he did it. What a great writer though. Masterful. ( )
  ReneeGKC | Jan 7, 2013 |
I believe William Trevor is a brilliant writer who shows us the importance of the mundane. ( )
  wbwilburn5 | Jun 9, 2012 |
It has been a bad summer for Thaddeus Davenant. His wife--who he married for her money, never loved, but had come to appreciate for her kindness--has been killed in a road accident. Left alone with an infant daughter, Thaddeus advertises for a nanny, but when none of the respondents seem to be acceptable, his mother-in-law moves in to care for little Georgina. But one applicant, Pettie, surprised that she didn't get the job, becomes obsessed with the much older Thaddeus, his sad story, and his privileged lifestyle.

Although they come from two different worlds, Thaddeus and Pettie have one thing in common: an inability to love, at least in a normal way. Thaddeus's upper class parents were distant and critical while Pettie, raised in an orphanage, only knew the kind of love extended by a "Sunday uncle." Surprised by his own feelings for his new daughter, Thaddeus begins to open his heart and to feel for others, including Pettie and a former mistress who calls him to her deathbed. Pettie's obsession, however, takes them all into darker, more dangerous territory.

Trevor is a master at depicting the broad divide between the upper and lower classes as well as the depths of the human heart and the psychological effects of a loveless childhood. Part of his mastery is that he is able to unfold all this subtly, without whacking his readers over the head with a purpose and a moral. While Death in Summer may not be his best novel, it is certainly worth reading. ( )
3 vote Cariola | Jan 8, 2012 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
William Trevorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Prebble, SimonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For Jane and in memory of Michael Streat
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After the funeral the hiatus that tragedy brought takes a different form.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0140287825, Paperback)

A William Trevor novel offers the pleasures of a world so thoroughly imagined it makes real life seem murky and badly conceived. When, as in Death in Summer or in his previous novel, Felicia's Journey, his subtle vision meets the rigorous pacing of the thriller, the result chills to the bone. Like a mystery, Death in Summer begins with one premature demise and ends with another; in between, however, Trevor explores the darkest corners of the human heart with a subtlety and compassion rarely seen in works of suspense.

Handsome Thaddeus Davenant has just buried his young, wildly generous wife Letitia--a rescuer of stray dogs and a champion of street drunks. In contrast, Thaddeus is a kind of emotional cripple, scarred by a childhood spent lonely and unloved in his ancestral Quincunx House. He married Letitia for her money, as is immediately clear. Yet he would have loved her, if he had been able, and after their child is born he feels for the first time "possessed by an affection he had been unable to feel for anyone since his own infancy." When Letitia dies, victim of a freak accident, and none of the nannies interviewed prove suitable, her mother moves in to care for the baby. Mrs. Iveson has always considered Thaddeus "shoddy goods," and their détente only gradually thaws into something resembling warmth. Meanwhile, Pettie, one of the rejected nannies, has "taken a shine" to Thaddeus--with increasingly ominous results.

Pettie inhabits a world far removed from the genteel decay of Quincunx House. Reared in the nightmarish Morning Star home, where the only affection was the creepy kind dispensed by her "Sunday uncle," Pettie is poor, broken, and pathologically starved for love. Trevor chronicles her obsession with Thaddeus in a way that makes clear both Pettie's humanity and her capacity to do serious harm. Still, this is a hopeful book. Grim as Pettie's story may be, she causes stony-hearted Thaddeus to feel the first stirrings of human sympathy, "as the warmth of blood might miraculously seep into a shadow, or anesthesia be lifted by a jolt...." Throughout William Trevor's long and storied career, his subject has been nothing less than the problem of evil, and in Death in Summer, he makes a convincing case for its origins in the absence of love. --Mary Park

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:57:36 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

After his wife dies Thaddeus Davenant, owner of a country estate in England, advertises for a nanny for their baby but finds no one suitable. One candidate, however, decides the palatial surroundings would suit her very well and she is ready to do anything to obtain the job. The result is drama.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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