Saturday 5 September 2009
The last significant interview was 20 years ago for The Paris Review. His then interrogator observed that his ability to inhabit so completely the lives and thoughts of such a wide range of characters was "disturbing", "somewhat diabolical" even. Trevor's extraordinary empathy is undoubtedly one of the defining qualities of his work, but it is hard to imagine a less diabolical figure than the twinkly 81-year-old, in schoolmasterly green cords and cardigan, sitting tidily on the sofa. Quite the opposite: there's something almost monk-like about his aura of good-natured serenity and wisdom. This comes perhaps, in part, from what – on the couple of occasions he has been pressed to talk – Trevor claim s as a complete lack of interest in himself. "It's true," he says, when challenged – solipsism, after all, is often assumed to be a necessary part of the writer's toolkit. Not for Trevor. "Other people interest me far more. Other people fascinate me."