Bookends from William Trevor

William Trevor is a master of the short story.  I would say that even if I hadn't seen it written all over after reading the story excerpted below.  Read this story while sitting in The Pig's Ear looking out over the darkness pressed down around Trinity College--the meal was Shepherd's Pie (by far and away the best I have EVER had) and Gur Cake and Tea Ice Cream.  Truly a wonderful meal though quite expensive by American standards.  Seems to be the going rate around here.

from "Cheating at Canasta"
in Cheating at Canasta
William Trevor

It was a Sunday evening, but Sunday, Mallory remembered, had always been as any other day at Harry's Bar. In the upstairs restaurant the waiters hurried with their loaded plates, calling out to one another above the noisy chatter. Turbot, scaloppa alla Milanese, grilled chops, scrambled eggs with bacon or smoked salmon, peas or spinaci al burro, mash done in a particularly delicious way: all were specialities here, where the waiters' most remarkable skill was their changing of the tablecloths with a sleight of hand that was admired a hundred times a night, and even occasionally applauded.  Downstairs, Americans and Italians stood three or four deep at the bar and no one heard much of what anyone else said. 
                            (p. 61)

Tomorrow what has been lost in recollection's collapse will be restored as she has know it: the pink and gold of Sant Giobbe's Annunciation, its dove, its Virgin's features, its little trees, its God. Tomorrow the silenced music will play in the piazza of San Marco, and tourists shuffle in the calles, and the boats go out to the islands. Tomorrow the cats of Venice will be fed by ladies in the dried-out parks, and there'll be coffee on the Zaterre.
(p. 71)

The first of these is so accurate--how often have I stood around in pubs and other gathering places that are so noisy loud and jostling that I could hear about a third of what was said. And in the second the poignant lyricism of the finale is vintage Trevor. 


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