- Fools of Fortune by William Trevor
Bodley Head, 239 pp, £7.50, April 1983, ISBN 0 370 30953 7
- What a beautiful Sunday! by Jorge Semprun, translated by Alan Sheridan
Secker, 429 pp, £8.95, April 1983, ISBN 0 436 44660 X
- An Innocent Millionaire by Stephen Vizinczey
Hamish Hamilton, 388 pp, £8.95, March 1983, ISBN 0 241 10929 9
- BuyThe Papers of Tony Veitch by William McIlvanney
Hodder, 254 pp, £7.95, April 1983, ISBN 0 340 22907 1
- In the Shadow of the Paradise Tree by Sasha Moorsom
Routledge, 247 pp, £6.95, April 1983, ISBN 0 7100 9408 6
- The Bride by Bapsi Sidhwa
Cape, 248 pp, £7.95, February 1983, ISBN 0 224 02047 1
The theme of William Trevor’s new novel – his ninth, and that leaves short-story collections out of account – is the murderous entail of Anglo-Irish history, in which, as a Cork man, he may fairly be considered expert. But unlike most experts, above all most specialists in Ireland’s past, he knows how little has to be told and how much is best left to the reader’s own memory and imagination. The point about an entail, as Mrs Bennet constantly complained to her long-suffering husband, is that it is buttoned up by law, invulnerable to grace. In Ireland, as in Pride and Prejudice, it follows the male line: only recently has an Amazonian tendance invaded Anglo-Irish contestation. The blood in this book is shed by the men, but the life sentences are served by their women, whose tragic warps still find their metaphor half a century later in the blackened, twisted beams of once-gracious country houses fired in the civil wars and never repaired. Such a house is Kilneagh.
The full text of this book review is only available to subscribers of the London Review of Books.