I decided to read William Trevor's The Story of Lucy Gault because it was on the 1001 Books to Read Before You Die list. This book begins in Ireland in the 1920s and extends to presumably somewhat modern times with the brief mention of cell phones and internet.
The story begins when Lucy Gault is a child. Her parents decide to move after foiling an arson attempt at their home. Lucy doesn't understand why they have to move and doesn't want to leave her childhood home and so she attempts to run away. She gets hurt in the woods and can't return home but in the meantime her parents find some discarded clothes by the ocean and think that she has drowned herself in her grief at leaving everything she loves. Her parents move away to the continent with no forwarding address and when she is eventually found, she returns home to an empty, boarded-up house. We then follow Lucy, her parents and also one of the arsonists who loses his reason and thinks that he actually did set fire to the house and that the young girl died in the fire. All of these lives are affected by tragedies that never happened.
This book read a lot like a short story. A very long time period was covered in less than 250 pages but I didn't feel like anything was missing. It was a good study in emotion, blame and coping and did a good job of showing the different points of view and effects of a single choice. I will definitely read some other books by William Trevor.
Obeying the "before you die" list,
Buy The Story of Lucy Gault on Amazon or find it at your local library.