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The Story of Lucy Gault [Paperback]

William Trevor
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)

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Book Description

24 April 2003

Captain Gault has decided that his family must leave Lahardane. They are after all Protestants living in the big house in rural Cork, and the country is in turmoil. It is 1921. But 8-year-old Lucy can't bear to leave the seashore, the old house, thewoods - so she hatches a plan. It is then that the calamity happens - an accident almost, but so vicious in its consequences that it blights the lives of the Gaults for years to come.

Trevor's new novel beautifully evokes rural Ireland and the tensions existing there, but also is Hardy-like in its portrayal of the impact of mere chance on a life.



Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; 1st Penguin Edition edition (24 April 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141010436
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141010434
  • Product Dimensions: 19.2 x 12.8 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 211,898 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Amazon Review

Chance is the central theme and malevolent force of William Trevor's The Story of Lucy Gault. In this haunting novel, suffused with melancholy, Trevor, a masterful chronicler of the sad, lonely and unfulfilled, recounts the tragic life story of a woman buffeted by fate.

The book opens in County Cork in 1921 with the eponymous Lucy as a small girl oblivious to the changes sweeping across Ireland. The Gaults are a Protestant land-owning family: Lucy's father, Captain Everard, was an officer in the British Army and her mother Heliose is English. When three local lads attempt to set fire to their ancestral home Lahardane (a country house in the vein of Elizabeth Bowen's Bowen's Court) Everard shoots and wounds one of the intruders, Horahan. The shot proves to have disastrous and reverberating consequences for the family: consequences that might appear melodramatic if Trevor didn't unfurl them with such subtlety and poise.

Everard and Heloise opt to leave Ireland but just before they are about to depart Lucy runs away. Convinced that she has drowned, the Gaults reluctantly head off into exile. Lucy is discovered alive but attempts to contact her kin fail. As her parents mournfully journey across Europe, Lucy, raised by two faithful servants, whiles away the years reading and waiting for their return. Her isolated existence at Lahardane is finally broken when Ralph, a young teacher, accidentally stumbles upon the house. Slowly, a romance blossoms, although Lucy, plagued by guilt and the ghosts of the past, is simply unable to grasp this chance of happiness. She does eventually find a kind of redemption (kept tantalisingly until the final chapters) but her tale, told with extraordinary beauty, compassion and precision, is ultimately one of endless disappointments. --Travis Elborough --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

'The Story of Lucy Gault persists with the quality which other writers have admired in him for 30 years' -- Prospect, September, 2002

'[a] gravely beautiful, subtle and haunting Irish novel' -- The Guardian, August 31, 2002

'a delicately rendered account of damage, guilt and grief' -- The Sunday Times, August 18, 2002

'simplicity, precision and a rare ability to understand the remarkable in what appears ordinary' -- The Sunday Telegraph, September 1, 2002

'there will only be a handful of novels worth reading this year...and this book is certainly one' -- Literary Review, September, 2002 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
Captain Everard Gault wounded the boy in the right shoulder on the night of June the twenty-first, nineteen twenty-one. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A haunting, heartbeaking page-turner. 18 July 2003
Format:Paperback
This is a ghost story, but the ghosts are not dead, they are only "playing at being dead".
In Ireland, in the summer of 1921, Anglo-Irish families are caught in the war between the IRA and the British Army and many of their big houses are being put on fire. Captain Gault and his wife Heloise decide to leave Ireland much to the distress of their eight-year-old daughter Lucy. She decides on a plan to force them to stay but her actions have disastrous, unforeseeable consequences.
The plot is so poignant I could hardly bear to read on but I had to find out what happens next.
William Trevor's writing is beautiful and subtle. There isn't a word out of place. The pace of the story is calm and mesmerising, almost dreamlike, but the desire to discover Lucy's fate will keep you reading into the night.
I agreed with every complimentary word of the blurbs on the cover.
This is a sublime novel, much better than Life of Pi which beat it for the Man Booker prize 2002. But life isn't fair as The Story of Lucy Gault epitomizes.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars an Irish classic 21 Sep 2002
Format:Hardcover
It is 1921 in rural Cork. But life in their big old house is anything but tranquil for the Protestant Gault family. In the midst of political turmoil, Captain Gault decides they must leave their house in Lahardane. But 8 year old Lucy has other ideas and makes her own plans. It is Lucy, then, who (rather like Bridget in Ian McEwan's 'Atonement')sets in train a sequence of events with devastating consequences for her family for many years to come. This is classic William Trevor. He writes simply, in an almost understated way, but very memorably, and evocatively. This book combines an intimate portrait of rural Ireland with a brilliant sense of tension, and the vulnerability of us all to the chance events of everyday life.
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25 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully restrained, brilliantly written 30 Oct 2003
Format:Paperback
The Story of Lucy Gault, is the epitome of brilliant story-telling. It is beautifully restrained with Trevor holding control of his story like no other writer alive today. In turns, brooding and malevolent, and fragile and breezy, the story emershes you wholly in the life of the protagonist, Lucy Gault.
The story starts in Ireland in 1921. It is a time of troubles and the eight-year old Lucy and her family are being forced out of their idyllic home of Lahardane, their British ties no longer welcome and their lives threatened. Lucy does not want to go though and decides to intervene so that her parents will be forced to stay, if only for a little while longer. The tragedy that she unwittingly unleases resonates through the lives of everyone around her though, the ramifications rippling through all their lives, whether it be Lucy herself, Captain Gault and his doting wife, the housekeeper, Bridget and her husband; and even those that have been the initial catalyst to the whole sorry tale. And it is a sorry tale. As the years roll by and event follows event it is clear that these are all the result of a single action taken by a little girl. The realisation that we create our own destiny is played out in the most heart-wrenching manner. That's not to say that this is a depressing read. The language Trevor uses is succulent and tender, and the tiniest details he threads through the narrative enables the reader to succumb in entirety to Lucy's world. This in itself makes the final delicate pages all the more devastating.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant book 19 Sep 2002
Format:Hardcover
This was my first William Trevor book.Though I struggled at the very start of the book once it got going I could not put it down.The story of Lucy is sad but brilliantly told.Trevor has a gift,his writing style breathaking,his descriptions of characters and life remarkable.Though the book covers a long period of time the feeling of a changing world comes across brilliantly.I loved the 'old' Ireland at the start of the book and I feel that the sadness of a lost way of life came accross as well as the lonely and sad existance of Lucy.His characters all have burdens they carry heavily in life bringing home the hard realities that many of us face in our journey through life.
I loved this book for many reasons.It is different to anything I have read and Trevors style is sheer genius.You will follow Lucy through her troubled life and be left to ponder on what could or should have been if this tradgedy had happened in present day.Unmissable read this now !
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Compelling, a really good story! 28 July 2003
By A Customer
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A quickly gripping read, of how one childs decision affected the lives of many others, for many years. Tragic and yet heart warming, this story is full of emotion. I was quite compelled. It was let down by a lack of deeper understanding of many of the characters. I was left feeling I had skimmed the surface of their personalities. But that in itslef is intruiging, and possibly intentional. The description of the coast, and other places is fantastic, however, and I really felt transported to the coast of Ireland. I will be recomending this to many friends.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
By A. Rose TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
The blurb on the back of the book reads well and the opening few chapters were quite chilling and gripping. The middle and end of the book were, although very well written, quite lacking in actual story. There was little incentive to make me pick the book up again as not a lot happens throughout Lucy's eighty years or so of extraordinary but rather boring life. William Trevor is a beautiful writer with lovely, haunting descriptions and prose `of the old school'. The book is not the easiest to read and because of his writing style I found myself re-reading several sentences and even paragraphs to get a full understanding. I think that I was trying to make myself enjoy the book because it was written by a very accomplished author rather than a gripping storyline.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Not for me
When I finished I didn't know why I'd read it. It started with nothing and continued to deteriorate to drrive nowhere.
Published 1 month ago by Gjohnhunt
5.0 out of 5 stars Tender is the Read......
A beautifully tender, moving and thoughtful novel.....and with emotional precipices the final chapters
which make the book a must-read-again experience.
Published 1 month ago by Annie Kirk
5.0 out of 5 stars old novel
A truly moving sad story that doe not have the happy ever after ending but is a good example of emotive story-writing.
Published 2 months ago by Flower
4.0 out of 5 stars Is Lucy Gault just a naughty child?
The Author Writes well. The story has an original twist, it keeps me Reading for hours to find out what happens. The end of the book is less exciting, nothing much happens. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Inger Nygaard
5.0 out of 5 stars Trevor at his gloomy best.
Lucy Gault's story is very much one in which the reader is tempted to conjecture about what might have been. Read more
Published 5 months ago by dollyanna
4.0 out of 5 stars Lucy Gault by William Trevor
A good story, though extremely sad. Very well written, as with all of William Trevor books. Very Irish, but as the author is Irish, tht was to be expected
Published 5 months ago by Christina Robinson
1.0 out of 5 stars Good writing - shame about the story
This book was a book club recommendation. It started off well and I was hooked but as it progressed I realised the main characters seem to prefer to wallow in self pity and were... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Cautious Annie
5.0 out of 5 stars The supreme Home Alone story
Lucy Gault makes for a far more beguiling lead character than Macaulay Culkin's Kevin. Fewer laughs (none in fact) but deeper satisfaction. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Richard Bramhall
2.0 out of 5 stars Does what it says it will do
I'm very happy to rate products that I have purchased through Amazon. I will rate as agreed via the star rating and will rate according to the cost, the availability, the value for... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Mrs and Mr TLJ Combes
4.0 out of 5 stars Devastating
Such a melancholy novel,I did'nt turn the pages as keenly as I did in order to know what was coming next, but to drench myself in it's soulful prose- 'circumstances had shaped an... Read more
Published 13 months ago by Villette
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