Posted in Short Stories

William Trevor: Lost Ground (Deal Me In 2018 – Week 29)

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He had been affronted by the visit, but he didn’t let it show. Why should a saint of his Church appear to a Protestant boy in a neighbourhood that was overwhelmingly Catholic, when there were so many Catholics to choose from?

It’s Week 29 of Deal Me In 2018 and I selected the Two of Spades – another wild card and that means another William Trevor story. This time I picked “Lost Ground” and as to be expected with Trevor, it’s wonderful.

Of all the conflicts in the world, the one that baffles me is the conflict between Protestants and Catholics in Northern Ireland. It seems to me they have more in common than they do differences; however, that could be said about almost any human conflict. But this conflict is the backdrop for “Lost Ground”.


Milton Leeson, a Protestant teenager in 1989, receives a holy kiss from St. Rosa in an apple orchard and feels called to preach about it to his surrounding neighborhood. Both Leeson’s militantly Protestant family and the neighborhood’s priest become uneasy about his calling. While the purpose or topic of Milton’s preaching is never specifically named, Trevor seems to point toward reconciliation as the message Milton receives from St. Rosa. A reconciliation that never occurs in the story.

Most of Trevor’s stories have a tinge of sadness or melancholy to them. While hope is not completely dismissed, it usually doesn’t stand right out in the open. It might show up in the supernatural dream of a teenage boy but not quite in the real world in which he lives.

“Lost Ground” is included in William Trevor: Selected Stories. My Deal Me In 2018 list can be seen here. Deal Me In is hosted by Jay at Bibliophilopolis.


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