William Trevor takes you close into the lives of Ellie and Florian. This is small-town, rural Ireland where everyone knows what is happening in the big house, as well as the smaller ones. All the characters come alive as they watch this gentle love affair.
Ellie’s husband had lost his own wife and baby in a horrific accident on the farm he ran. Ellie was an orphan,chosen by the nuns to look after and eventually marry this older farmer. Florian is the only child of two watercolourists. He grew up in a big house and was lost when his parents died, leaving him without any apparent ambition or training. He met Ellie in a nearby town, where he was practising photography. He was also planning to sell the house, and live abroad, possibly as a writer.
There is something inevitable about their love and at the same time touchingly sad. Trevor is deft in his sketches of all the lives involved. He also paints a beautiful picture of the lakes, flowers and birds that enhance the green countryside. The Irish voices ring out musically and a whole new world comes to life – totally entrancing, in 200 short pages.
Trevor lives in County Cork. He has written many novels, and short stories, and won many prizes. His last book “The Story of Lucy Gault” was shortlisted for both the Man Brooker and the Whitbread Fiction Prize.
Review by Anne McDougall