It’s always a pleasure to discover great new (to me) authors. I had heard of William Trevor, but had never read any of his work. I included three of his stories in my Deal Me In Short Story Project this year. This week I drew the King of Clubs which corresponded to Trevor’s “Sacred Statues”. After reading this, I don’t think I’m going to be able to get by with only three of his stories.
Corry, a sculptor, creates statues of saints and other religious icons. Trevor portrays his talent as brilliant. Prior to the time of the story, Mrs. Falloway, a patron of the arts, sponsors Corry; however, it doesn’t pan out financially. His wife, Nuala, expecting another child, attempts to engage in an “under the table” adoption deal with an insurance agency couple who are unable to have children.
Trevor beautifully shows a handful of people living in a world of unfulfilled desires. The desire of Corry to make a living as an artist is powerfully strong and wonderfully understood by Nuala. The writing is so subtle and nuanced that I had to think about the story for a while and realized that I could come up with a number of different ways to interpret it.
Most of the interpretations I thought about revolved around questions. Can the need to create art be more powerful than the need to make a living? Is it worth following a religion that doesn’t seem to care whether you follow it? If a talent is truly “God-given”, why does a mother feel she needs to give up her child for money?
A great story and great questions – with very few answers. I’m looking forward to more stories by William Trevor.