The Silence in the Garden by William Trevor - a classic early novel by one of the world's greatest writers. Family secrets take their toll on the children of an old Irish family. In the summer of 1904 Sarah Pollenfax, the daughter of an impecunious clergyman, arrives at Carriglas, an island off the coast of Cork, to act as governess for her ...
The Silence in the Garden by William Trevor - a classic early novel by one of the world's greatest writers. Family secrets take their toll on the children of an old Irish family. In the summer of 1904 Sarah Pollenfax, the daughter of an impecunious clergyman, arrives at Carriglas, an island off the coast of Cork, to act as governess for her distant cousins. It's a magical time in a magical place. But when she comes back almost thirty years later, after the First World War and the Irish Civil War have taken their toll, she discovers that there were things going on during that apparently idyllic summer which now horrify her and which cast a long shadow over the remnants of the family still living there. "William Trevor's precisions and indirections slowly and balefully accumulate in this, his most ambitious novel" (Anthony Thwaite, London Review of Books). "Offers marvels with Mr Trevor's customary understated dexterity". (New York Times). William Trevor was born in Mitchelstown, Co Cork, in 1928. He spent his childhood in Ireland and was educated at Trinity College, Dublin, but has lived in England for many years. An acknowledged master of the short-story form, he has also written many highly acclaimed novels: he has won the Whitbread Fiction Prize three times and been shortlisted for the Booker Prize four times. His most recent novel was Love and Summer (Penguin, 2010).
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Publishers Weekly, 1988-07-08 Carriglas, the island estate of the aristocratic Anglo-Irish Rollestons stands for many things in this quietly evolved and gently nuanced novel by Trevor ( Fools of Fortune, The News from Ireland ). It is the remote homestead to which Sarah Pollexfen, a poor relative, returns as a kind of undeclared housekeeper. Her childhood memories are of Carriglas as a magical, mysterious place where she and her brother Hugh summered with the Rolleston grandchildrenfey Villana and her two older brothers, John James and Lionel. But their lives are changed by World War I and by the Irish ``troubles'' that provoke the wanton murder of the Rolleston's butler, Linchy. Through Sarah's meticulously kept diary entries (``I feel more than ever I live in a cobweb of other people's lives and do not understand the cobweb's nature'') some of the mysteries unfold for her. We know of Sarah's unspoken love for Lionel, who has become a reclusive farmer; we hear of Villana's broken engagement and her strange marriage precipitated by a dreadful event on the island; we observe John James's amusing whoring in Cork. But it is Tom, the child begot by Linchy before he could marry Brigid, a maid in the great house, who captures the heart. Tom's illegitimacy makes him a pariah, subject to the hypocrisies and superstitions of the rural Irish, qualities that Trevor conveys very well. There is an unspoken undercurrent in the narrative of these quietly desperate lives that will enthrall the reader. (September) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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