‘I would not have known that St Cecilia had ever existed if we had not come to Italy.’

‘Yes, there’s that.’ He smiled, and held the cup out, raising it to her lips. But nothing was drunk from it.

‘I would not have stood before Piero Della Francesca’s Risen Christ.’ Her voice had weakened to a whisper that was scarcely audible. ‘Or Fra Angelico’s Annunciations. Or Carpaccio’s terrified monks.’

The Captain, who often didn’t remember what was so easily remembered by his wife, held her hand by the bedside and sat with her a while longer. They were the marvels of her life, she said after a moment, and slept then, suddenly falling into a doze.

– William Trevor, The Story of Lucy Gault


‘Thaddeus turns off the lamp on the table, and the conservatory is more softly lit by the haze of early morning. He does not want this day, so gently coming. He does not want its minutes and its hours, its afternoons and its evening, its relentless happening.’

– William Trevor, Death in Summer


‘They sat for longer at the table, the cigarette Florian had put out to smoke unsmoked, the tea he’d made gone cold. This is what he would take with him, he thought. This was what he would leave behind. Tidily laid out, these moments now would haunt whole days.’

– William Trevor, Love and Summer