Review: Padgett Powell on William Trevor, a postscript

Those of you who have been with us for a while will remember that Padgett Powell reviewed the Last Stories of William Trevor for us back when, our first Book Post out of the gate. At the time he averred that he had not, indeed, read the book. He could not bring himself to. He comes to us now with this postscript.


I broke down and read this book. I read it slowly and desultorily, knowing that these are the last stories of their kind on earth. They are as noble and precious as the last dead elephants will soon be. Trevor came to the end acting like it: these stories are bleak. They are simpler than the earlier stories and operate on one or two narrative planes where once three or five narrative planes operated. They sometimes are a tad looser in the time signature, a ridiculous term I use to mean chronological order, our knowing crisply when is when. If when is when is a bit looser here it may be because when is the end. It is getting dark and Trevor sees things through to the end. People do some dying here, they get down to basic last wants and memories. Lifetimes of longings circle back around to long-last fruition, and the fruit is not bright fresh fruit. Gird yourself. Trevor is brave, brave, and strong, a phrase I heard a man say of himself once at a mall.