I am predisposed to liking the writing of William Trevor.
Love and Summer has solidified that.
Reading Trevor is a relaxing enterprise.
It's like hot chocolate, and a warm fire in the grate. Such an unpretentious calmness to his stuff. You wouldn't be surprised if Ratty or Mole were to step into the room at any moment and offer to top up your glass of sloe gin.
And yet the subject matter could hardly be more serious.
In 1950's Ireland the matriarch of the town of Rathmoye has passed away. The descendants, a son and daughter, basically own half the town and are privy to the comings and goings of all the inhabitants. They notice that a stranger had been photographing the funeral, and are hence, wary of his presence.
Florian Kilderry, a fledgling artist, had intended a sort of photo-essay involving the burnt-out cinema in town -- but in the midst of the funeral -- was sidetracked, his eyes falling upon the lovely Ellie Dillahan, childless wife of a hill farmer.
Ellie, the epitome of innocence, meets Florian on one of his subsequent visits to Rathmoye, and is subtly drawn in to ever more frequent encounters with this would-be Romeo.
Ellie's marriage is by no means exactly romantic. It was a marriage of….. convenience, shall we say. It served to rescue her from life as a convent foundling, and provided the widower with an all-purpose charwoman / bedmate.
Win win? Granted, it is mutually beneficial, but in several ways, unsatisfying.
Dillahan is a man haunted by guilt regarding the accidental death of his wife and baby. As for Ellie, scrubbing floors in the convent or here on the ranch, is there really any difference? But what about love? Ahh… there's the question that beats in her breast.
The clandestine meetings between her and Florian provide the lass with a hope of something beyond her former acceptance of fate.
But Florian does not intend to stay in rural Ireland. In fact, he wants to spend his recent inheritance on a flight to Scandinavia, where he can properly live out his bohemian dreams.
Will he convince Ellie to go with him?
Does he even want to convince her to go with him?
Ellie seems more interested in the adventure than even her tempter does.
The novel turns upon what Ellie ultimately decides to do.
And when I say TURNS… I mean --> TURNS!
It is just such a wonderfully deep novel, and written in such a spare, unassuming, and not to mention economical [200 pages] way.
A very rewarding, rich, highly-recommended read. Again, various talking rodents will actually offer you booze as you read it... and that's gotta count for something!
Read more about Love and Summer --> HERE.
Purchase the book --> HERE.