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The Story of Lucy Gault di William Trevor
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The Story of Lucy Gault (originale 2002; edizione 2003)

di William Trevor

UtentiRecensioniPopolaritàMedia votiCitazioni
1,600598,317 (3.75)327
Nine-year-old Lucy Gault is devastated when her parents plan to leave their ancestral estate in Ireland for a new home in England. As the servants are let go and the house is boarded up, Lucy decides to run away. But her disappearance sets off a series of misunderstandings that will change her family forever and will touch each inhabitant of her village.… (altro)
Utente:johnbakeronline
Titolo:The Story of Lucy Gault
Autori:William Trevor
Info:Penguin (Non-Classics) (2003), Paperback, 240 pages
Collezioni:La tua biblioteca
Voto:*****
Etichette:novel, fiction, dirge, literature, Irish

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The Story of Lucy Gault di William Trevor (2002)

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What a beautiful novel is Trevor’s paean to loss, regret and life itself. I can’t tell you how it cleansed the palate after the first three books of Updike’s Rabbit series. It restored my faith in the novel as a vehicle for the expression of human sensitivity.

Lucy is young when her parents, fearful of the turning political tide, make plans to leave the only home she has known on the beautiful Irish coast. But tragedy strikes, and the novel enters a period of mourning, separation and loss which William Trevor’s prose paints perfectly.

In fact, it is a testament to Trevor’s skill as a writer that the novel does not descend into utter melodrama, such is the tragedy you are faced with. I’m not sure anyone but an Irish writer could have portrayed such depth of loss with such subtle prose. It’s enchanting.

I’ll admit that there are a couple of contrivancies in the plot to make the story work as it does, but you’re so enthralled, you really don’t notice them. Like a Bronte fan reading Jane Eyre, you’re willing to forgive the author at least this much.

According to Wikipedia, Trevor’s characters are "Those who cannot accept the reality of their lives create their own alternative worlds into which they retreat."

Lucy Gault perfectly fits this mould and finds the world that she creates cannot sustain the penetration of the realities of those who love her. There is a tremendous sadness in these episodes, and it makes you yearn to comfort her.

Lucy’s life is a lesson to those of us who fear fear itself. It can be a big bad world out there, but it can also be wonderful, and to fear the former is a surefire way to ensure you never make it far enough to see the latter.

As all good novels, it makes you wonder who around you embodies the non-fiction version of the fiction you’ve read. How many Lucy Gaults do we know who long for love but cannot receive it for fear it will disturb their safety? Trevor’s novel has raised my awareness and, hopefully, helped me to trust that to love and be loved is worth the risk. Let me never say, like Lucy, "I am not somebody to love." ( )
  arukiyomi | Aug 23, 2020 |
"Memories can be everything if we choose to make them so."

This novel spans some 70 years and looks at how the future is shaped by "the sins of the past". Yet in reality the 'sins' are minor compared with the punishment that they engender.

The story begins in the summer of 1921, in County Cork, when local Protestant landowners were subject to attacks by members of the IRA in their battle against the British Army as they sought independence. Isolated farmhouses owned by Anglo-Irish families were set on fire in an attempt to drive their owners out of their homes and Ireland altogether.

Captain Everard Gault, a veteran of WWI, lives a simple life at Lahardane with his wife and young daughter when one night he shoots at a group of intruders, intent on burning their house down, wounding one of them. Everard hadn't actually intended to injure anyone merely to warn them off. He knows the family of the youth he shot, a boy called Horahan, and feeling remorseful attempts to apologise and offer recompense to the boy's family but meets intransigence and refusal.

Fearful of another attack Everard and his wife Heloise decide to abandon Lahardane to the care of Henry and Bridget, a pair of loyal retainers. However, in trying to shield eight-year-old Lucy from the real reasons for their departure from the home she loves she in turn she decides to run away rather than leave her home. By a series of awful chances, Lucy is thought to have drowned and grief stricken her parents reluctantly leave Ireland without her.

Sometime afterwards Lucy is found alive and attempts are made in trying to track down her parents. Racked with grief and remorse Lucy and her parents begin to live parallel lives. Whilst her parents live a nomadic life around Europe, Lucy lives an almost Sleeping Beauty like existence, living in an isolated house, looked after by Henry and Bridget rather than seven dwarfs, cut off from ordinary outside village life, reading old novels and wearing her mother's dresses,she awaits her parents return and forgiveness. Adults and child are unable to reconcile past events and are imprisoned by "what must not be spoken of". When Lucy falls in love, she refuses happiness until she is forgiven but when Heloise dies and Everard returns to Lahardane but is too late to save Lucy's happiness. Instead they must each settle for companionship rather than love.

Meanwhile, the boy Horahan, plagued by vivid dreams in which he actually burnt the house down thus killing Lucy, is gradually losing his mind racked with remorse.

On the whole I found this a really well written novel but in particular I found the middle section, which deals with Lucy's love scenes with Ralph, very poignant. Every sentence they speak has a "not" or a "never" in it: "I never want to go." "I could never not love you." When Ralph marries, he never tells his wife about Lucy, and when her father returns, they don't talk of her loss. As a child, Lucy learns deaf-and-dumb language from a fisherman, and that's what these characters speak in.

This is a novel that centres around guilt, both personal and political. How decisions and policies can have unforeseen ramifications. Both Horahan and the Gaults are victims of Ireland's 'Troubles', the Irish boy brought up to become a revolutionary and the Protestant family who were the intended victims, each then become metaphors for colonialism.

As the years pass by Lucy's tale slips into local myth and folklore with her regarded almost as a Protestant saint. Time on one hand is a destroyer, "The past was the enemy." but as the years pass by, Lucy in particular becomes much more sanguine about past events: "What happened simply did". This then is a story of memory as well as history. ( )
  PilgrimJess | Jul 20, 2019 |
Long rambling story - not inspiring - long passages of loneliness, guilt, grief, unrequited love, ageing - and on and on. ( )
  siri51 | Aug 12, 2018 |
A story of a family set in 1920's Ireland at the time of the Troubles. Decision made to leave for England which the eponymous Lucy strongly disagrees with. Tragic accident occurs, which turns the course of the Gault family's history. Writing sometimes felt 'old fashioned' , perhaps of the time, but nevertheless a moving and engaging novel, with believable characters, who acted consistently with the setting's time and place.
Recommended. ( )
  celerydog | Aug 9, 2018 |
Had a good time reading it. ( )
  sidiki | Jul 7, 2018 |
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Captain Everard Gault wounded the boy in the right shoulder on the night of June the twenty-first, nineteen twenty-one.
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The past was the enemy.
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Nine-year-old Lucy Gault is devastated when her parents plan to leave their ancestral estate in Ireland for a new home in England. As the servants are let go and the house is boarded up, Lucy decides to run away. But her disappearance sets off a series of misunderstandings that will change her family forever and will touch each inhabitant of her village.

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