Monday, 28 March 2011

Book #16 The Story Of Lucy Gault by William Trevor

The Story Of Lucy Gault

The Story Of Lucy Gault was shortlisted for The Booker Prize in 2002, which was won by 'Life Of Pi' by Yann Martel. Personally, I infinitely prefer this book. It was recommended at a Readers Day in January of last year and I bought it then with a number of other books. I have found I think over the years that if you buy one or two books you are more likely to read both but when you buy a boxful, ones get left aside. I do so like getting a big box from Amazon though it's like Christmas!

This is a difficult book to review without massively spoiling the plot so I'll have to be careful.
The story begins in 1920's Ireland. The Gault family are Protestant landowners with British connections, a dangerous combination in Ireland in the twenties. Captain Gault and his wife decide they must leave, but their young daughter Lucy does not want to go and decides she will make them change their minds.

What happens next is not the obvious, but her decision has tragic and lifelong consequences for all concerned, and not the sort of tragedy that heals with time, but a daily, pulsing, presence. The kind that makes people tell the story to each other at the mere mention of her name.

In the years that follow the characters live in something like suspended animation. Time moves on, events occur, the world changes but they do not. A relatively short book by my standards, the book is probably the better for its brevity, Trevor has a vision and executes it well.

This book is a novel about tragedy, grief, guilt, responsibility, solitude and love. Above all, it is profoundly sad, not in a way which makes you sob but in a way that makes you ache. Although this book will not become a favourite, the memory of it is going to stay with me for some time. 7/10

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