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The Hill Bachelors by William Trevor
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The Hill Bachelors (2000)

by William Trevor

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I'm not a huge fan of the short story genre, but I really loved most of these. It's my first William Trevor book and I'm tempted to promote him straight to my Favorite Authors list. As is usually the case for me, my appreciation of a book is directly related to how well I can personally connect with the characters in the story. Many of Trevor's characters in this book were older men, living somewhat solitary lives. The story I related to best was one about an old Anglican priest who was the rector of a church in Ireland with a small and dwindling congregation. At the end of this story I just thought: Wow! What talent this author has to be able to bring us into this character's life so deeply and intimately in just a few pages.
I approached each story with a real hunger for more. I wanted to know what made middle-aged men tick. Of course I didn't find *the* answer, but a lot of light was shed on the topic...and many further mysteries were uncovered. ( )
  oldblack | Oct 16, 2009 |
The best book of short stories I have read to date, although it has to be said I have not read very many! I liked some of the stories a lot more than others, but that is probably as it should be. After all, we all like some books more than others, and even in favourite novels there may be some chapters that we do not really see the need for. Trevor has an incredible ability to cram a lot of detail about characters, even their back story, into the confines of the short story form. As a result, these are truly stories in which something actually happens, and not just the sort of poetry written in prose which is often found in collections of this nature.

My favourite stories in this volume were the one about an academic whose obituary is prematurely published, presumably as a result of a student prank, and the one called "The Telephone Game". ( )
1 vote dsc73277 | Oct 13, 2009 |
All melancholy tales, many very touching - worth reading! ( )
  gesullivan | Jun 28, 2008 |
If there is a better short story writer alive, I don't know who it is. William Trevor dissects and illuminates the lives of people with a steady eye and a voice that never falters. In this collection there are those that choose between right and wrong, and then have to live with their decisions. All receive the same unblinking treatment. "Of the Cloth", "The Mourning", "The Virgin's Gift", and "The Hill Bachelors" are my favorites. ( )
  Hagelstein | Mar 9, 2008 |
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On the steps of the Scheles' house, stained glass on either side of the brown front door, Sidney shakes the rain from his plastic mackintosh, taking it off to do so.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0141002174, Paperback)

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

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:58:28 -0400)

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This work features 12 stories from the writer of "Black Rain". Mostly set in Ireland, they tell about the lonely and the sad, about those who barely have control over their lives, and about those who have something to hide.

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