William Trevor Death in Summer

ISBN 13: 9780140287820

Death in Summer

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9780140287820: Death in Summer

William Trevor's Last Stories is forthcoming from Viking.

A New York Times Bestseller and Notable Book
 
From the winner of the 1999 David Cohen British Literature Prize comes an unforgettably chilling novel, written with the compassion and artistry that define Trevor's fiction.

There were three deaths that summer. The first was Letitia’s, sudden and quite unexpected, leaving her husband, Thaddeus, haunted by the details of her last afternoon.
 
The next death came some weeks later, after Thaddeus’s mother-in-law helped him to interview for a nanny to bring up their baby. None of the applicants were suitable—least of all the last one, with her sharp features, her shabby clothes that reeked of cigarettes, her badly typed references—so Letitia’s mother moved herself in. But then, just as the household was beginning to settle down, the last of the nannies surprisingly returned, her unwelcome arrival heralding the third of the summer tragedies.
 
“William Trevor is an extraordinarily mellifluous writer, seemingly incapable of composing an ungraceful sentence. . . . His skill is very real, and equals his great compassion. With Death in Summer, these two qualities combine in a beautiful and resonant way.”—The New York Time Book Review
 
“Possibly the most perfect of Trevor’s novels . . . Astonishing.”—Los Angeles Times Book Review
 
“Beautifully paced and mesmerizing . . . Offering us a compelling mystery on many levels through . . . finely drawn, perfect glimpses of touchingly imperfect lives.”—The Washington Post Book World
 
Nominated for a Los Angeles Times Book Prize

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Review:

A William Trevor novel offers the pleasures of a world so thoroughly imagined it makes real life seem murky and badly conceived. When, as in Death in Summer or in his previous novel, Felicia's Journey, his subtle vision meets the rigorous pacing of the thriller, the result chills to the bone. Like a mystery, Death in Summer begins with one premature demise and ends with another; in between, however, Trevor explores the darkest corners of the human heart with a subtlety and compassion rarely seen in works of suspense.

Handsome Thaddeus Davenant has just buried his young, wildly generous wife Letitia--a rescuer of stray dogs and a champion of street drunks. In contrast, Thaddeus is a kind of emotional cripple, scarred by a childhood spent lonely and unloved in his ancestral Quincunx House. He married Letitia for her money, as is immediately clear. Yet he would have loved her, if he had been able, and after their child is born he feels for the first time "possessed by an affection he had been unable to feel for anyone since his own infancy." When Letitia dies, victim of a freak accident, and none of the nannies interviewed prove suitable, her mother moves in to care for the baby. Mrs. Iveson has always considered Thaddeus "shoddy goods," and their détente only gradually thaws into something resembling warmth. Meanwhile, Pettie, one of the rejected nannies, has "taken a shine" to Thaddeus--with increasingly ominous results.

Pettie inhabits a world far removed from the genteel decay of Quincunx House. Reared in the nightmarish Morning Star home, where the only affection was the creepy kind dispensed by her "Sunday uncle," Pettie is poor, broken, and pathologically starved for love. Trevor chronicles her obsession with Thaddeus in a way that makes clear both Pettie's humanity and her capacity to do serious harm. Still, this is a hopeful book. Grim as Pettie's story may be, she causes stony-hearted Thaddeus to feel the first stirrings of human sympathy, "as the warmth of blood might miraculously seep into a shadow, or anesthesia be lifted by a jolt...." Throughout William Trevor's long and storied career, his subject has been nothing less than the problem of evil, and in Death in Summer, he makes a convincing case for its origins in the absence of love. --Mary Park

From the Back Cover:

"As delicate as Two Lives and as menacing as Felicia's Journey, Death in Summer contains... writing so sublime that it will break your heart twice — once with sadness and once with beauty." — Daily News

"Evil is never so elegant as when Trevor turns his velvet-gloved hand to the discreet thriller." — Winnipeg Sun, Top Books of 1998

"Stunning—One of the most enthralling books of the year." —Bolen Books

"A deliciously menacing vision of Cruel Britannia. [Trevor's] exquisite prose draws comparisons with…Alice Munro, but beneath the mannered surface lurks the devilish imagination of a Patricia Highsmith." — The Globe and Mail

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Book Description Penguin Books Ltd, United Kingdom, 1999. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. A New York Times Bestseller and Notable Book From the winner of the 1999 David Cohen British Literature Prize comes an unforgettably chilling novel, written with the compassion and artistry that define Trevor s fiction. There were three deaths that summer. The first was Letitia s, sudden and quite unexpected, leaving her husband, Thaddeus, haunted by the details of her last afternoon. The next death came some weeks later, after Thaddeus s mother-in-law helped him to interview for a nanny to bring up their baby. None of the applicants were suitable--least of all the last one, with her sharp features, her shabby clothes that reeked of cigarettes, her badly typed references--so Letitia s mother moved herself in. But then, just as the household was beginning to settle down, the last of the nannies surprisingly returned, her unwelcome arrival heralding the third of the summer tragedies. William Trevor is an extraordinarily mellifluous writer, seemingly incapable of composing an ungraceful sentence. . . . His skill is very real, and equals his great compassion. With Death in Summer, these two qualities combine in a beautiful and resonant way. --The New York Time Book Review Possibly the most perfect of Trevor s novels . . . Astonishing. --Los Angeles Times Book Review Beautifully paced and mesmerizing . . . Offering us a compelling mystery on many levels through . . . finely drawn, perfect glimpses of touchingly imperfect lives. --The Washington Post Book World Nominated for a Los Angeles Times Book Prize. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780140287820

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Book Description Penguin Books Ltd, United Kingdom, 1999. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. A New York Times Bestseller and Notable Book From the winner of the 1999 David Cohen British Literature Prize comes an unforgettably chilling novel, written with the compassion and artistry that define Trevor s fiction. There were three deaths that summer. The first was Letitia s, sudden and quite unexpected, leaving her husband, Thaddeus, haunted by the details of her last afternoon. The next death came some weeks later, after Thaddeus s mother-in-law helped him to interview for a nanny to bring up their baby. None of the applicants were suitable--least of all the last one, with her sharp features, her shabby clothes that reeked of cigarettes, her badly typed references--so Letitia s mother moved herself in. But then, just as the household was beginning to settle down, the last of the nannies surprisingly returned, her unwelcome arrival heralding the third of the summer tragedies. William Trevor is an extraordinarily mellifluous writer, seemingly incapable of composing an ungraceful sentence. . . . His skill is very real, and equals his great compassion. With Death in Summer, these two qualities combine in a beautiful and resonant way. --The New York Time Book Review Possibly the most perfect of Trevor s novels . . . Astonishing. --Los Angeles Times Book Review Beautifully paced and mesmerizing . . . Offering us a compelling mystery on many levels through . . . finely drawn, perfect glimpses of touchingly imperfect lives. --The Washington Post Book World Nominated for a Los Angeles Times Book Prize. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780140287820

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