Zenosbooks

(05/02/2008) The Love Department by William Trevor. New York. 1967. Viking Press. keywords: Literature Ireland. 281 pages. Jacket design by Paul Bacon.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   Who are the real 'enemies of love' in modern life? William Trevor's third novel is written with the same wry comedy and deadpan irony that distinguished THE OLD BOYS and THE BOARDING HOUSE, but its theme reaches out to embrace a much larger segment of humanity. The 'Love Department' of a big women's magazine, headed by the dwarfish and unloved Lady Dolores, is devoted to counseling unhappy housewives in the suburbs. Lady Dolores is disturbed by the reports of one Septimus Tuam, a young philanderer who has been cutting a wide swath among these disaffected matrons, One day there appears in her fabulous offices a hapless young man from the provinces named Edward. She hires him in his innocence and assigns him to the pursuit of Septimus Tuam, He sets out on his landlady's bicycle through the highways and byways of Wimbledon and into the lives of an assorted group of characters, each involved in his or her own way in the precarious problems of love. Septimus Tuam, it turns out, is a charmer, no mistaking it, Edward, in trying to catch up to him, must first go through many frustrations. Be it said only that 'love falls like snowflakes,' and that Septimus finally gets his dramatic comeuppance - not through any conscious act of Edward's, and not at all according to Lady Dolores's nefarious secret designs. Inventive, sardonic, wildly farcical at times, full of quizzical insights into people, THE LOVE DEPARTMENT will delight any reader with an eye for some of life's oddities.

William Trevor, born in Ireland in 1928, attended the National College of Art and Trinity college in Dublin, He moved to London in pursuit of various careers--as sculptor, teacher of art, and advertising copywriter. His fiction first brought him wide attention in 1964 with THE OLD BOYS, which was awarded the Hawthornden Prize, one of Britain's most esteemed literary honors, His next novel, THE BOARDING HOUSE, was published in 1965; in reviewing it for the London Times, John Bowen remarked that Trevor 'is one of those rare writers who can make one laugh against one's will,' The Love Department has been chosen as the first Additional Choice of Britain's Book Society.

 

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