středa 21. září 2011

William Trevor: Děti z Dynmouthu (The Children of Dynmouth)

   Well, after a few weeks with no review, I am back. I read this book quite a long time ago so I can’t remember it very well. But I will do my best. We chose this book for our reading club, I had had no idea what it was about, who was the author…I really didn’t know what to expect. But the book surprised me – it is really good.
   It takes place in Dynmouth – an imaginary little town on English coast (in the exact place where Francis Drake destroyed the Spanish Armada…it’s probably somehow meaningful for the book, I just didn’t find out how exactly). The main character is a young guy called Timothy who spends most of his time on his own, watching telly. His mother and sister have to work and even when they are at home, they don’t pay him much attention. As expected, Timothy seeks attention elsewhere.
   As he has very little to do, Timothy browses the town and watches people. Unfortunately, he watches them more or less all the time (except for the time he watches TV) and with no regard to their privacy.
   There is an annual festival where people have different performances and they can win some totally worthy prizes (something like British Hillbillies Got Talent). Well, Timothy thinks he can participate. Not only participate, he can win. He makes up a funny scene about a serial killer and his three victims (young brides) who he drowned in bathtub. Obviously, no one thinks it would be even remotely funny but Timothy is resolved to get all the props he needs (a bride’s dress, a bathtub and a curtain).
   He may be a complete weirdo and the most antisocial guy in the town, but it doesn’t mean he’s stupid. He starts blackmailing his neighbours in order to get all those things and when they don’t agree to give what he wants…well, that’s when the real fun starts. Unfortunately, it doesn’t really matter if people obey him or not, he tells their secrets to everyone anyway.
   There is no point in describing the whole of the plot so I will proceed right to the core of the matter. Timothy is an ass (obviously) but he is a) still more honest than most of the town and b) unlike the others, he sees the life of the town as it is. On the other hand, he might see through people’s masks but when it comes to his own life and the way he lives it, he is just as delusional as everyone else. Another point of the book is that people never really change. Timothy forces some of the inhabitants into really tough psychological struggle, they get through it and than…they carry on as they always have. An lastly, Trevor shows not only particular stories but he also presents the town as a unit. There is an old crazy religious lady, a divorced couple, an unfaithful husband with a young mistress, an old couple, a spinster who has spent all her life waiting for her beloved man to leave his wife, etc. Not only you can find almost same pattern in basically every town and village, people themselves repeat it – the children in the story begin their way to become some of these people themselves.
   It’s not a very nice book. I really hated Timothy. I wanted the little sod to die (I somehow expected that someone will lose their nerves and do him in). People in the city are all weak and when he threatens them, they run or they just let him hurt them. But…that’s probably how it is.

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