William TREVOR ... Cheating at Canasta (2007)
THERE IS MUCH evil, horror, melancholy and darkness in William Trevor’s brilliant new collection of short stories, Cheating at Canasta (2007), his twelfth, I believe. The greatest living exponent of the short-story form has written 12 new stories for this collection that explore the consequences of the evil that men do and test the moral limits of his flawed characters for our delectation. Quite a consistently even collection with a couple of outstanding stories. His grasp of the everyday Irish speech is especially satisfying in more ways than one. Definitely one of the major highlights of the reading year.
Trevor is a sadly neglected short-story writer who also dabbles in novel-writing. His powers of observation and compassion are remarkable, especially in his short stories. The “elder statesman” of the short-story writing fraternity has a prose style reminiscent of such Russian masters as Anton Chekhov and Ivan Turgenev: lean, precise, economical and tightly wound.