Monday, March 26, 2012

Reader's Diary #813- William Trevor: Men of Ireland

In the past I've dedicated the entire month of March to Irish writers in honour of St. Patrick's Day. This year, St. Paddy's came and went without as much as a mention. Almost. Fitting under the "better late than never" banner comes "Men of Ireland" by William Trevor.

Ireland and the Catholic Church seem to go together like Ireland and potatoes. Or Ireland and Guinness. Or Ireland and leprechauns. You get the idea. Of course in the past 10-20 years or so, the Catholic Church seems to have been tied more to scandal than to Ireland, leading to a strained relationship that is still making headlines.

Some of this scandal is at the heart of William Trevor's story, so I can't recommend it for being particularly groundbreaking or unpredictable, albeit timely I suppose. However, it is otherwise well written; wonderfully descriptive in its characterization, dialogue, and imagery. About a beggar returning to his hometown in Ireland, I was hooked right at the beginning with the thought, "My God, you can smell it alright." Just this past week I was chatting to someone about the smell in the air in Newfoundland that hits you as soon as you arrive, a salty damp smell, that I can't wait to get a whiff of when I visit again this summer. The beggar then reflects on changes that have occurred in his absence. Again I could relate. But at that point the story starts to swerve out of familiar territory.

(Did you write a post for Short Story Monday? If so, please leave a link in the comments below.)


Margot said...

I like your comments on Ireland. I'm not sure why but, when thinking of Ireland, I always smile and feel light-hearted. Intellectually I know they are human and have had their fair share of troubles, but it seems as if the Irish are so loveable. I don't know why that is.

I read an old Dashiell Hammett short story this week - a great classic detective story. My post is here: Joyfully Retired

Teddy Rose said...

I think I might like Men of Ireland. I will have to check it out. I like stories that take place in Ireland.

I read a really good short: