'No matter what,' Julia had said, aware then of what was coming, 'let's always play cards.' And they did; for even with her memory gone, a little more of it each day - her children taken, her house, her flowerbeds, belongings, clothes - their games in the communal drawing room were a reality her affliction allowed. A husband sits in Harry's Bar in Venice, thinking of his wife - lost to him now - whose plea has brought him back to one of their favourite haunts. On another table, a young couple quarrel. Cheating at Canasta is the title story of William Trevor's new collection, his first since the highly acclaimed A Bit on the Side (2004), and its themes of missed opportunities, the inevitability of change and the powerful but fragmentary quality of our memories are entirely characteristic of his unparalleled oeuvre.
William Trevor was born in Mitchelstown, County Cork, and spent his childhood in provincial Ireland. He studied at Trinity College, Dublin. He has written many novels and won many prizes, including the Hawthornden Prize, the Yorkshire Post Book of the Year Award, and the Whitbread Book of the Year Award. His most recent novel, The Story of Lucy Gault (2002), was shortlisted for both the Man Booker Prize and the Whitbread Fiction Prize. He is a celebrated short-story writer, and his two most recent collections are The Hill Bachelors (2000), which won the Macmillan Silver Pen Award and the Irish Times Literature Prize, and A Bit on the Side (2004). Both are available in Penguin, as is his Collected Stories.