Published in 2002 by Penguin Books. Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2002.
Challenges - 10%, A to Z Author and 100 books
Captain Everard Gault wounded the boy in the right shoulder on the night of June the twenty-first, nineteen twenty-one. Aiming above the trespassers' head in the darkness, he fired the single shot from an upstairs window and then watched the three figures scuttliIng off, the wounded one assisted by his companions.
I feel really bad about this book. I picked it purely as it ticked all the right boxes for my challenges, I had never heard of it before and thought the title a little boring. For that reason only, I read this book and I now realise it was worth more than a mere box ticking process.
This rather thin book, with its understated cover and very plain title is a really beautiful, poignant book waiting to be discovered. It is a quiet, unobtrusive book that cuts you open wide and plays on your emotions. It is one of the those books that will make you think about your future, leave you wondering who will be there to look after you when your loved ones have passed on or moved on.
This book shows how one simple action can change the lives of so many people, causing irreversible disaster to all that it affected.
Lucy's childhood is idyllic. Lucy lives with her wonderful parents, who dote on their only child. She lives by the sea in Lahardane, in Lahardane, Ireland, surrounded by the woods and the glens. When Lucy reaches eight, her world becomes dangerous, after her father ( a Protestant ) shot and wounded a Catholic boy who was preparing to burn his house down. No longer feeling safe in the family home, Lucy's father prepares to take his family overseas until the present dangers pass. Lucy is angry about having to leave her home and determined to stop her parents leaving, so she disappears, leaving her parents to believe that she has drowned. The story then moves onto to show how Lucy's ill fated decision affects all the people she loves and changes the course of her own destiny.
Within this book, there are lots of events that don't happen. These events come very close to becoming reality and then by chance they end up not happening, leaving you with a curiosity as to how the story would have occurred if they had happened. If the Catholic lad had been successful in burning down the Gaults house, the story would have obviously had a very quick ending, but you would have looked at how the effects on the Catholic boy may have given him a different perspective on his life. Throughout the book, he reappears and lives with nightmares of what could have happened. He can not sleep without seeing Lucy die as a child, which leads to his eventual madness.
I found Lucy's disappearance a little difficult to believe. I know if it was a child of mine, I would never give up the search, where as Lucy's parents presumed her dead, after finding her vest. A thorough search of the surrounding areas never occurred, if it had, the circumstances would have been different. So I found that part rather unrealistic.
After finishing this book, I could not help but contemplate my own future. I have always felt blessed to be surrounded by my family, however I very aware that one day that could change. I look at my own parents who until recent years were surrounded by family. Both of their children moved away and their siblings passed on, followed by dear friends. As much as I include my parents in my life, they still live two hours away from me, with little chance of them ever living closer. I know that as time passes, being alone at some point in life, is almost a rite of passage, but it is a scary thought. You cannot depend on people being there for you all your life. Within the book, Lucy copes well with the loneliness, as she has grown up with the feeling of abandonment. In fact, I would almost say she is content to be alone in old age and living with her past constantly surrounding her in a house that has not altered since she was a child. I am not sure I would cope as well as she did with such loneliness and I love my own company. When I think of Lucy, I think of The Beatles song Enola Gay.
The characters are well written. You cannot help but feel sorry for Lucy. She spends most of her life, regretting a decision she made at the age of eight. She hates herself for the pain she puts her parents through and never really forgives herself for her actions. Imagine living with the same guilt all your life.
I would definitely recommend this book. I enjoyed this book a lot more than I ever thought I would. William Trevor appears to be an understated writer and this book is a beautiful example of his work to read.