American readers of William Trevor’s fiction may find themselves at something of a loss to decide precisely what nationality or ethnic identity to assign to this acknowledged master of the short story. The usual epithet for Trevor is Anglo-Irish, which, particularly for readers unfamiliar with Ireland, roughly places him, because he was born and raised in Ireland, went to school there, attended Trinity College, Dublin—and because a quarter of the eighty-odd pieces in his Collected Stories are set in Ireland or are peopled by Irish characters living abroad, usually in England.1 He himself has for many years lived and written in Devon.

The term “Anglo-Irish” usually either embraces the members and descendants of the Protestant Ascendancy like Yeats,...


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