What intrigued me most about these two beautifully written novellas, packaged together under the modest title Two Lives, was William Trevor’s motivation in writing them.
While reading, my mind was teeming with questions: why did Trevor decide to look so closely at the very different lives of two women in the year 1987?
What is the significance of them both being 56 years old at that time and both arriving at defining moments in their exterior as well as interior lives?
Did he purposefully intend that both characters should experience life changing events around 1957?
What is the significance of them both being deeply attached to fictional worlds, and memorial gardens, even if in different ways?
I can well imagine that my questions would irritate Mr Trevor were he to hear of them.
“I don’t appreciate my work being analysed to that extent,” he might say. “I just want people to enjoy it."
"And, in any case,” he would add politely, “your questions underline the obvious: that the common ground between the two lives of my characters is what is significant. Their similarities are clearly the focus of my attention and the rest is my own business.”
Ah, I see...
Well, I’m very glad I’ve had that chat with you, Mr Trevor.