Reading Turgenev - Two Lives - William Trevor

I stayed up late last night so that I could finish the first novel, Reading Turgenev, of the duet known together aptly as Two Lives. Reading Turgenev is the story of Mary Louise Dallon and her marriage to the older draper, Elmer Quarry, and the consequences of such a marriage are heartbreaking for both of them. The story builds slowly and poignantly, until, towards the end, the reader is hit (this reader was hit!) with the full and relentlessly prolonged picture of sadness and heartbreak and unfulfilled potentials and loves. It's terribly moving. I also love the way Trevor captures the rural Irish idiosyncracies, familiar as I am with them through the memories of my Dad, who also grew up in a deeply rural part of the West of Ireland. It's a much simpler prose than John McGahern who tends to rely more on specific dialect, but Trevor does it with the odd phrase in dialogue which absolutely rings in the authenticity. I haven't yet read My House in Umbria, the second of the novels and I anticipate disappointment because the synopsis doesn't seem to come close to that promised by Reading Turgenev. Perhaps I'll return to Berlin Poplars.

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