‘The Piano Tuner’s Wives’ by William Trevor is a tale that’s almost dizzying as you hop between one era of marriage to another; Trevor has a tremendous ability to expose the complexities of marriage, while enticing an unbiased perspective for all parties involved.
Owen Francis Dromgould is a kind, emotionally intelligent, blind piano tuner who remarried after the death of his first wife, Violet. Violet plays an almost maternal role to Owen, as she essentially become his eyes for him and adopts him into her home. Belle has always loved Owen and a jealousy of Violet plagues her through the entire plot, yet, the reader can’t but help feel empathetic for her situation. The last paragraph reveals an unsaid agreement between husband and wife, the enabled sense of entitlement for Belle who has to live in the shadows of Violet.
Trevor has a fascinating ability to bring the reader from one moment to the next within a short length of writing, and seamlessly so. Within one paragraph, Trevor manages to smoothly take the reader from the first marriage to the second and back again. For example, the merging of the description of both honeymoons…”They stayed in the same boarding-house, the Sans Souci, and walked on the long, empty strand and in lanes where larks scuttered in and out of the fuschia, and on the cliffs. They drank in Malley’s public house. They lay in autumn sunshine on the dunes.” this perfectly depicts how the author has the ability to disorient the reader as to which marriage he’s speaking of (417).
I highly recommend this read, as it takes you on a ride of optical sensations through time, opening your perspective to that of a blind man, and of a wife who truly loves her husband, yet has to live in the shadows of another.
References: Reviews. “William Trevor: The Piano Tuner’s Wives.” Mookse and Gripes, 30 Aug. 2012, http://mookseandgripes.com/reviews/2012/08/30/william-trevor-the-piano-tuners-wives/. Accessed 3 Feb 2017.