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The Story of Lucy Gault    by William Trevor order for
Story of Lucy Gault
by William Trevor
Order:  USA  Can
Penguin, 2003 (2002)

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* * *   Reviewed by Barbara Lingens

William Trevor has written a bittersweet and hauntingly beautiful book, The Story of Lucy Gault. Set in Ireland, in the context of its Protestant-Catholic troubles before and including World War II, the novel details how these events both impact and pass by a small family living in an out-of-the-way place.

An attack on their property causes a married couple to make plans to leave their home. Their young daughter does not wish to go, and her actions trigger a tragic mistake that changes many lives. Written in spare, luminous prose that is highly allusive, the tale's events are felt rather than understood. The local laconic style of speaking is captured with fidelity, and vast emotions are conveyed in, for example, the slightest movement of a hand.

In the last part, I found the indirect approach a bit tough, so that careful reading was required to understand what was really happening to the characters. The Story of Lucy Gault was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. It is definitely recommended.

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