Saturday, January 20, 2007

The New Yorker: "Bravado" by William Trevor

This story, set in contemporary Dublin, is told by an omniscient narrator who eventually settles into the voice of Aisling, a young convent school girl who is attracted to Martin, a rough boy—he smokes and drinks and Aisling’s father doesn’t approve—who, in order to impress her, beats another boy whom he doesn’t like. Aisling believes there is a good reason for the beating, but when the boy dies, and the justification is not raised, she realizes that this was a lie she wanted to believe. (“In a bleak cemetery Aisling begged forgiveness of the dead for the falsity she had embraced when what there was had been too ugly to accept. . . She might go away herself and often thought she would: in the calm of another time and place to flee the shadows of bravado.”) Trevor is a master story teller and while this one begins slowly—I can’t help wondering if someone in a workshop would tell him to begin at the point where the beating occurs!—the tone he wants for the story is present from the beginning.

January 15, 2007: “Bravado” by William Trevor

2 comments:

Unknown said...

Are you certain that martin killed the boy. I was sure that it was Donovan?

Clifford Garstang said...

The two acted together, but consider that Martin was their leader and Trevor specifically says that Donovan didn't move forward until the victim was already lying in the grass. Martin is said to be the one who intervenes, so even though it was Donovan's sister who was offended by Dalgety, I believe he was the one who began the assault.