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August 5, 2017


W. Trevor: The Piano Teacher’s Pupil

by N@ncy

  • Author: William Trevor
  • Title: The Piano Teacher’s Pupil
  • Published: 26 June 2107, The New Yorker Magazine
  • #DealMeIn2017  Challenge



  1. Miss Nightingale’s pupil arrives at a critical juncture in her life.
  2. The boy sat behind the piano…she knew she was in the presence of genius.
  3. His music “took her with him into paradise“.
  4. When the boy came for his Friday lesson it was
  5. the “halcyon afternoon at the center of Miss Nightengale’s life.”
  6. But there were also “echos with memories” in the room.


Boy’s influence: 

  1. Distress and bewilderment feed vivid dreams.
  2. She was prey to thoughts she never had before.
  3. In the dark she pushed that all away.
  4. She did not look to see what was no longer there.
  5. taunted by unanswered questions:
  • father’s chocolates way of buying good behavior?
  • father’s devotion inducement to stay with him in the house?
  • father’s devotion is selfishness  dressed-up?
  • lover…had he deceived her as he did his wife?


Epiphany: She had been the victim.

  1. …of the boy – shown off to her his other skill…he could upset her life.
  2. …of herself – shown no emotions, learned to hide her feelings
  3. …of her “careless credulity” – believing in the honesty of others
  4. …of  wanting to believe what seemed to be –
  5. loving father  is in truth a calculating man entrapping her in the home.
  6. devoted lover is in truth a man who belittled love.



  1. All this was true but SOMETHING nagged
  2. ….was that something the truth she will never know?
  3. She felt she deserved to know the truth
  4. …owed to her as a moral obligation.
  5. It seemed a right, almost, that she should understand a little more.”



  1. The boy came back long afterwards…sat and played.
  2. There was mystery in the music.
  3. Miss Nightengale learns that…
  4. …”there was a balance struck…it was enough.”
  5. Miss Nightengale learns that…
  6. …mysteries in life are a marvel in itself.
  7. “She had no rights in this.”
  8. Accept the weaknesses, imperfections
  9. of others…fathers, lovers and pupils.
  10. Relish the love and joy they brought.


Last Thoughts:

  1. William Trevor is by far the master of the short story!
  2. He gives us a portrait of of ordinary people
  3. …lonely, the isolated and often the victims of society.
  4. Thank you Brona’s Books for inspiring me to ready
  5. your favorite short story author!

7 Comments Post a comment
  1. Aug 5 2017

    I’ve only ever read one of William Trevor’s novels – Love and Summer – and really liked it. Have read a few times about his short stories but never tried them – it’s a genre I tend to struggle with – but this sounds good.


    • Aug 5 2017

      I find if I keep to this template ( see review)…I’m able to get the essence of the story.
      The traditional opening – characters – ephiphany – realizaition and inevitable disillusionment….does NOT work with Harlan Ellison….you’ve been warned!
      Tomorrorw final Euro Champ Ladies Soccer…go Dutch, go ladies on NL!


  2. Aug 6 2017

    I’m thrilled. Just one short story is all it takes with WT 😊 he’s that good at what he does. He packs a lot of nuanced, complex emotions into such a small package.

    Love your image choices.


    • Aug 6 2017

      One short story by WT was better than many novels I read this summer!
      I have to be in the right mood to read him….no ‘things-to-do’ running through my thoughts…..just concentrate on Trevor! Are your days getting longer….ours are slowly changing…

      Liked by 1 person

      • Aug 12 2017

        We’ve had a week of glorious 21 degree days. Wore a t-shirt a few time this week – very happy with our mild winter so far 😁


Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Wrap-Up Deal Me In 2017 Challenge | NancyElin
  2. Monthly Planning | NancyElin

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