Carriglas is the island estate off County Cork where Sarah Pollexfen goes to live as governess to her wealthy cousins on the eve of the First World War. Helplessly, Sarah watches her cousins lead increasingly isolated and empty lives as if punishing themselves for a past crime. And somewhere in the tranquil garden of Carriglas there are secrets waiting to be discovered..."The Silence in the Garden" won the Yorkshire Post Book of the Year award. Writing in the Spectator, Anita Brookner said, 'Trevor is a specialist in brooding regret and a discoverer of past crimes. He is devoted to Ireland, to its soft speech and its frequently ugly deeds, and he combines them in a sort of elegy'.
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William Trevor was born in County Cork in 1928 and spent his childhood in various provincial Irish towns. He went to Trinity College, Dublin and then to England in 1953. He now lives in Devon. In 1977 William Trevor received an honorary CBE in recognition of his services to literature, and in 1998 he was awarded the prestigious David Cohen British Literature Prize for a lifetime's achievement in writing.From Publishers Weekly:
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.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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