|About the Book|
I tend to think of William Trevor as Irelands John Cheever. There are no doubt myriad differences between the two writers, but what they have in common seems to me too striking to ignore. There is a certain preference for bibulous, upper middle-class, affluent couples. People bored with their creature comforts and their money and their children and their marriages- professional people, usually, bored too with their jobs and their tawdry affairs and their colleagues. Both Trevor and Cheever also, with great skill in their own way, articulate the grand compromises in the lives of these individuals, and how they deny that any compromise has been made, how they talk themselves out of it or rationalize it away.In the story Angels at the Ritz we begin with Polly and Gavin Dillard on their way to a party deprecating their friends penchant for wife swapping. (Its 1975 and Margaret Thatcher has just taken over the leadership of the Conservative Party.) At the end of a vinous evening all the husbands throw their keys on the floor and the blindfolded wives crawl on the floor to pick out a set of keys at random. The Dillards in their early evening sobriety think that this is exactly what they dont want, and they deride it at length, but by the end of the party all of that changes.