Two Lives

Two Lives William Trevor s astonishing range as a writer his humor subtlety and compassionate grasp of human behavior is fully demonstrated in these two short novels In Reading Turgenev a lonely country girl

  • Title: Two Lives
  • Author: William Trevor
  • ISBN: null
  • Page: 151
  • Format: Hardcover
  • William Trevor s astonishing range as a writer his humor, subtlety, and compassionate grasp of human behavior is fully demonstrated in these two short novels In Reading Turgenev, a lonely country girl escapes her loveless marriage in the arms of a bookish young man In My House in Umbria, a former madam befriends the other survivors of a terrorist bombing with surprisinWilliam Trevor s astonishing range as a writer his humor, subtlety, and compassionate grasp of human behavior is fully demonstrated in these two short novels In Reading Turgenev, a lonely country girl escapes her loveless marriage in the arms of a bookish young man In My House in Umbria, a former madam befriends the other survivors of a terrorist bombing with surprising results Nominated for the Booker Award.

    One thought on “Two Lives”

    1. Two women.Two lives.Multiple realities.“Two Lives” couldn’t be a more befitting title for this book, for it consists of two stories narrated by middle-aged women who review past events to make sense of their dismal present. Such title could also be interpreted as the alternative existences both protagonists create in their minds to cope with the unsparing reality that has robbed them of their youthful illusions.Told in the first-person narrative, the reader is dragged away in a deluge of u [...]

    2. What intrigued me most about these two beautifully written novellas, Reading Turgenev and My House In Umbria, packaged together under the modest title Two Lives, was William Trevor’s motivation in writing them. While reading, my mind was teeming with questions: why did Trevor decide to look so closely at the very different lives of two women in the year 1987? What is the significance of them both being 56 years old at that time and both arriving at defining moments in their exterior as well as [...]

    3. Well I've tried and tried and I've found it impossible to write a review on these two novellas. Briefly, two middle-aged women, both aged fifty-six which I found very odd; one novella set in south-east Ireland and the other in Umbria in Italy.How Trevor has managed to immerse himself under the skins of two women in such a skilful way I find remarkable and in fact baffling. He shows a sensitivity and a style of writing that is quite mesmerising. I still don't know why I love this book so much. In [...]

    4. Two women, both fifty-six (pure coincidence that I’m reading this), who both, for a time at least, live in fantasy worlds, blurring the border between the place they live in their heads and the world outside. One of them saves herself, the other makes herself ridiculous, but helps to rescue people too, offers them a place to heal. William Trevor cannot put a foot wrong. There's not an untidy phrase to be found. Controlled, but not tight.I re-read Reading Turgenev. The journey is quite a differ [...]

    5. I don’t think I want to meet William Trevor. Which might seem odd because he is one of my favorite authors and the picture of him at the back of every one of his books reveals the face of a kindly, intelligent, slightly amused, older gentleman. Ah, but don’t let the crinkly eyes and the tweed hat fool you. I feel fairly certain that with the briefest of handshakes he would make note of the too-soft hands. The merest chat, and he would have the manic cadence of speech and that annoying impedi [...]

    6. ------------------------------------------------This is arguably a single superbly written novel. But it is composed of two different novellas that William Trevor wrote at different times and later chose to combine. His talents as a writer are displayed here at their finest. Today I am feeling that after thirty years of reading his works, this is his best.But as a reader (and human being) who learned to love the characters deeply, I found that this book can be very hard to take in emotionally. T [...]

    7. Two short novels here. I read Reading Turgenev some years ago and liked it a lot. Just finished My House in Umbria. There are inordinately beautiful discursive passages in the early going. Our narrator, Mrs Delahunty, English by birth and owner of said house, is on painkillers in the hospital after a traumatic event. She simultaneously recollects her abusive childhood, her years as owner of the Rose Café, a period of cohabitation with the disappointing Mr Chubbs, her rise to fame as an author o [...]

    8. “A person’s life isn’t orderly, it runs about all over the place, in and out through time. The present’s hardly there; the future doesn’t exist. Only love matters in the bits and pieces of a person’s life.”Love may make one happy or else love may bring unhappiness: the heroine’s marriage turns into an excruciating disaster so she tries to hide in her dreamworld but a dreamworld is so brittle…Such is a life in Reading Turgenev.“Once, somewhere, I have seen a painted frieze con [...]

    9. بعد از سفر فلیشیا کتاب دومی بود که از ترور میخوندم، و چیزی که توی هردو کتاب اذیتم میکرد بی احساسی و کمرنگی شخصیت ها بود‌. احتی در پرهیایو ترین صحنه هاشون هم هیچ حسی بهم منتقل نمیشد. چه لحظه ی توصیف قتل ها توی فلیشیا و چه توی صحنه ی زار زار گریستن برای عشق کودکی توی دنیای تورگنیف

    10. I found both stories difficult to get into at the beginning, but again with both once I had gotten into them I found them to be very beautiful. If sadness can be beautiful that is, as they were both tragically sad. Not in a way that they had me crying but in a way that I just felt so very very sorry for the main characters in them. Both stories that remind you of life's greatness when you do live it the way that you want to live it. It made me very grateful of being in a wonderful relationship f [...]

    11. "Two Lives" is actually two novellas in one book. Both are narrated by a 56 year old woman and both take place in 1987. "Reading Turgenev" is the better of the two but both are superb. "Reading Turgenev" is the story of a young woman growing up in rural Ireland in the early 1950's. Mary Louise is one of three children living on a family farm located on the outskirts of a small Irish country village. Being Protestant in a Catholic town isolates her even further, requiring that she attend a specia [...]

    12. Every time the great Irish writer, William Trevor publishes something new, critics everywhere say it's the greatest thing he's ever written. And it is. Until he writes something else, that is.Two Lives, however, has won a special place in my heart, and while I love everything Trevor writes, I doubt that anything will ever top Two Lives for me.Two Lives is composed of two elegant and elegiac novels, each centering on a fiftysomething woman and each taking place during the summer of 1987.At first [...]

    13. This is part of my "238 books in 238 days"-challenge. You can follow my progress here.--------Two years ago I've first read a book by William Trevor. It was called "Love And Summer", and I was rather bored while reading it, as you can see from my review here. I also gave it five stars.I've reread that book a lot since then, and I've slowly come to love William Trevor's gift for precise sentences, unhurried storytelling and taking a story all the way to its conclusion. These traits are at work in [...]

    14. These two novellas by William Trevor include razor-sharp observations in the smallest of worlds -- small family, in a small village, in a small country -- yet brimming over with universal feelings and truths. In "Reading Turgenev" Mary Louise is trapped in a loveless marriage to a milquetoast draper who lives with his two sisters (think Cinderella) who torment her. When she visits her ailing cousin Robert, she is reminded how she loved him in grade school and, as he reads her passages from Russi [...]

    15. William Trevor writes in a straightforward manner. The characters are developed very well with detailed relationships among them. Settings are easy to visualize. The prose seems so simple. It is very subtle. These two stories are the type that infiltrate your mind! Whether you are immersed in the reading, or, going about the daily routine, there is something that makes you want to keep reading, or, get back to reading the book.I won't go in to any summaries of the two stories as others on Good R [...]

    16. Two Lives consists of two novellas, Reading Turgenev and My House in Umbria. The latter is the tale of a storyteller. She is known by many names but mostly by the appellation Mrs. Delahunty. The titular house is an important character as well being the locus of most of the story when an apparent terrorist action leaves several people convalescing with Mrs. Delahunty. William Trevor draws the characters with care, but Mrs. Delahunty who writes stories and shares her dreams stands above them all. [...]

    17. The first (short-ish) novel in this collection, Reading Turgenev, is incredibly good. Trevor is a great writer. The second novel, My House In Umbria, was disturbing to me, but I'm bad at liking stories with narrators I have no sympathy for or with. I almost wish I'd stopped at the end of the first novel, but he is such a good writer that I couldn't help myself. Wondering what the next of his books that I read should be. Suggestions?

    18. The life of a woman with few options who chooses marriage in a dreary rural town in mid 20th century Ireland. As with many stories that chart a similar landscape the marriage fares poorly but the denouement of the principals and their eventual coming together is as sad as it is reaffirming. Trevor is a master writer and storyteller.

    19. Reading Turgenev is the my favorite Trevor story by far. My house in Umbria was okay, but Reading Turgenev is Trevor at his best showing how the small choices we make in life can lead to so much. The writing is flawless.

    20. You’ll have to forgive me if this review is a little sketchy – I’ve been gone from GoodReads for a while - so these thoughts are distant impressions rather than anything detailed. I’m also a bit jet-lagged.But having read a few paragraphs to remind myself of the two novellas in ‘Two Lives’, what strikes me again is how Trevor creates such complete and believable worlds. I’ve banged on about how brilliant a writer he is before, and it’s perhaps in his short stories that the style [...]

    21. This week’s headline? dressing for him/consumed by imaginationWhy this book? great-aunt recommended author/and he's IrishWhich book format? cheap at Half-Price/double the funPrimary reading environment? bedtime at home/day in airportsAny preconceived notions? for old ones/bog o' detailsIdentify most with? Mary Louise Dallon/Mrs. Emily DelahuntyThree little words? “smelt of poverty"/"faith in time"Goes well with? rissoles = meat pies?/packet of MSRecommend this to? my late grandmother/newly w [...]

    22. Again - as always with William Trevor's stories - a delight. Each story by William Trevor, be it a short story or a full length novel, gives me a feeling that I want to read more from this uniquely gifted writer.

    23. William Trevor is "the greatest living writer of short stories in the English language.“ The New Yorker. Two Lives, is a pair of novellas, published together in 1991: Reading Turgenev and My House in Umbria. The book was short listed for the Sunday Express Book of the Year Award, and Reading Turgenev was short listed for the Man Booker award. Trevor’s characters are often people who find themselves trapped by their circumstances, buried alive in effect. In Reading Turgenev, we first meet Ma [...]

    24. Two Lives: Reading Turgenev & My House in Umbria - two novels by William Trevor. Both are intriguing, evocative, imaginative, and haunting. Trevor writes majestically, but is determined to wring your heart. In Reading Turgenev, an Irish country girl is trapped in a loveless marriage with an older man and his two hyper-critical sisters, but finds release through secret meetings with her beloved cousin, Robert, who shares her passion for nature and Russian novels. My House in Umbria tells of E [...]

    25. I was so impressed by how well Trevor gets into the interior thoughts and lives of his female characters. I was absolutely sold on it. His writing is so beautiful and insightful without being in the least overdone. There is a lushness for the simplicity. Reading Turgenev is about Mary Louise, a woman growing up in a poor Protestant family who marries Elmer Quarry, an older man who owns a drapery. Their marriage is loveless from the start and while Elmer begins losing himself in drink, Mary Louis [...]

    26. I first read these two novellas about twenty-years ago and took the greatest pleasure from renewing my acquaintance with the first, "Reading Turgenev". The setting is not unlike Trevor's most recent novel, Love and Summer: small-town rural Ireland in the mid-century. Of the characters too there are certain similarities. Mary Louise is not unlike Ellie Dillahan; the cousin Robert shares similarities with Florian Kilderry, as do their respective husbands also. It is almost as if Trevor wished to r [...]

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