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 surprising results. Nominated for the Booker Award.
I found the first story, Reading Turgenev, to be so sad I could hardly stand it. I guess I've had my fill of stories about women who feel they have no way out other than to live a live of pain and disappointment. It was well written, but just too discouraging for words. The second story, My House in Umbria, was by no means rosy at all times, but the main character was strong at times and had her charm. At least in the beginning of the story, she lost some of that as the story developed. This is an interesting author and I would definitely read more by him.