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May 28, 2018


Memories of Youghal

by NancyElin

Writer : W. Trevor
Title: Memories of Youghal
Theme: memories happy (familiar places, schools, stores)….unhappy (loneliness)
Setting: Youghal seaside resort town County Cork
Setting: terrace of the Hôtel les Galets in Bandol, France
Timeline: 1979, late April ( I calculated this out of information in the story)


1. Explain the title. Memories of Youghal   In what way is it suitable to the story?
a. Trevor uses ‘he remembered’ ..she remember several times in the short story to stress we are reading about memories.
b. Where is Youghal? Novelist W. Trevor spent some of his early years in Youghal, and featured the town in his short story. “Memories of Youghal”.  But we discover the conversations are taking place in Bandol, France on Côte d’Azur.
c. Trevor describes the beautiful Hôtel Les Galets and it’s surroundings ..mimosa, bougainvillea, oranges ripened, palm trees that flap in the breeze. This is so different from the place in the character’s minds…seaside coast of Ireland, sandy beach, shop near the lighthouse that sells Rainbow Toffees.

2. What is the predominant element in the story?   Characters
a. Trevor uses body language, gestures, glances to communicate tension
b. between Quillan and Miss Ticher (64 yr) and Miss Grimshaw (64 yr)
c. during their casual talks on the hotel terrace.
d. Detective Quillan: 45 yr.
e. While reading the story I feel is investigating … his own childhood!

3. Who is the single main character about whom the story centers?
a. Quillan: is the main character.  He is a detective (45 yr)
b. When a detective is in the story….who or what is he looking for?
c. Quillan is the boy at the beginning of the story.
d. The reader does to know that yet…..
e. Quillan is obsessed by the blows fate has forced upon him.
f. Had his parents not died…
g. Had a mystery woman succeeded in stealing him out of his pram…
h. …then he would have been a different man than he is now.

4. How does the story get started?
a. The narrator describes a character ‘he’ recalling
b. …memories of his childhood to an elderly woman on a hotel terrace.

5. Briefly describe the rising action of the story.
a. The action in the story is very subtle.
b. ‘He’ introduces himself as a detective who is
c. following an adulterous couple for her husband.
d. Quillan asks if he may have a casual conversation
e. with the elderly woman….
f. …so the couple won’t notice him.

6. What is the high point, or climax, of the story?
a. Quinlan with his eyes closed in warmth talks about
b. his childhood memories.
c. Three lines on page 53 are the emotional climax in the story.
d. The reader finally understands what is going on.
e. Quillan: “The woman wanted a child, Miss Ticher.
f. A child needs love.
g. Miss Ticher: ”A woman too,” whispered Miss Ticher.

7. Discuss the falling action or close of the story.
a. Miss Ticher’s thoughts: ‘She imagined…
b. — ironing his blazer
c. — his face as a child
d. The mood changes.
e. Miss Ticher thanks Quillan for his childhood memories
f. She watches him walk the length of the terrace.
g. Miss Ticher: “ How very cruel the world is.”

Strong point:
a. Drinking: is usually a part of Trevor’s stories
b. …red liquid(wine) and ice swirling in a glass of whisky.
c. Characters are imbibing, intoxicating, tipsy and a looseness about the lips
d. usually discloses secrets best kept silent.
e. Feelings: of sarcasm with hint of bitterness
f. sympathy is shrugged away.


  1. This story was very good.
  2. Once I finished it I re-read the first
  3. …few pages looking for the clues I missed.
  4. There are a few lingering questions in my mind.
  5. How did Quillan find Miss Ticher?
  6. Well, isn’t that what a detective does….find people?
  7. Why did Quillan suspect  that
  8. …Miss Tricher was someone from his past?
  9. Trevor gives us some clues that Quillan is on a mission.
  10. “….leaning closer to Miss Ticher and staring intently into her eyes…’
  11. “ Miss Ticher and Miss Grimshaw, said Quillan,
  12. …slowly as though savoring the two names.”
  13. The body language….and manner of speaking indicate
  14. that Quillan knows something about  these two ladies.
  15. He knows they are part of the puzzle called his childhood.
  16. William Trevor’s short stories….never disappoint!
Read more from fiction, Ireland, short story
3 Comments Post a comment
  1. Mar 21 2020

    It’s such a difficult time Nancy, I hope you are keeping safe and well xx

    • Mar 21 2020

      Thanks….while I was walking this morning and listening to The Economist magazine audio….the descriptions of ‘the news’ sounded like I was living through a SF narrative. Looking around I saw very few cars where on normal days it would be a full car park! It was just me and some birds on my walk…and they even looked a bit depressed! But at least …they can still fly!


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