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Friday, May 25, 2018

The Story of Lucy Gault (2002) by William Trevor

Book Review
The Story of Lucy Gault  (2002)
by William Trevor

  It's hard to write about The Story of Lucy Gault without ruining it, since the big plot surprise happens in the first 20 pages.    The story takes place in the Irish country side, in the early 1920's, as the Troubles are engulfing Ireland.  Captain Everhard Gault is a lesser member of the Anglo-Irish aristocracy, he and his wife Heloise live with their young daughter, Lucy on an isolated estate.

  After a frightening encounter with local vigilantes opposed to English rule in Ireland, Gault makes the decision to exit Ireland.  Upset with the decision, young Lucy decides to run away, a decision that tragically leaves the parents thinking that she is dead.  They then depart, leaving Lucy behind.  The families solicitor spends the next several decades looking for Everhard and Heloise, who are living the peripatetic live of wealthy wanderers.  Lucy grows up, alone, still living in the family home.

  The literature of the Anglo-Irish aristocracy seems to be a particular obsession of the English, as supposed to the Irish.  Or perhaps it is better to say that it is a well established example of the hybrid literature from the global south that has made such deep inroads into global, English language literary markets.   Lucy herself is an example of this particular culture made flesh, living out a wasted life in the wilds of Ireland, but a story that resonates with readers living in global cities a century later. 

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