Felicia's Journey: A Novel by William Trevor, Paperback | Barnes & Noble
Felicia's Journey: A Novel

Felicia's Journey: A Novel

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by William Trevor
     
 

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Felicia is unmarried, pregnant, and penniless. She steals away from a small Irish town and drifts through the industrial English Midlands, searching for the boyfriend who left her. Instead she meets up with the fat, fiftyish, unfailingly reasonable Mr. Hilditch, who is looking for a new friend to join the five other girls in his Memory Lane. But the strange, sad,

Overview

Felicia is unmarried, pregnant, and penniless. She steals away from a small Irish town and drifts through the industrial English Midlands, searching for the boyfriend who left her. Instead she meets up with the fat, fiftyish, unfailingly reasonable Mr. Hilditch, who is looking for a new friend to join the five other girls in his Memory Lane. But the strange, sad, terrifying tricks of chance unravel both his and Felicia's delusions in a story that will magnetize fans of Alfred Hitchcock and Ruth Rendell even as it resonates with William Trevor's own "impeccable strength and piercing profundity" (The Washington Post Book World).

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A page-turner marked by brilliant psychological suspense."
—The Philadelphia Inquirer

"Perfectly executed and chilling . . . A sad and oddly moving tale of lost opportunities and misplaced hopes."
—Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

"A battle for the soul, waged between the forces of good and evil . . . Mr. Trevor shows just how wise and wry and funny and morally astute an observer of the human comedy he is."
—Patrick McGrath, front page, The New York Times Book Review

"A thriller lifted to the level of high art . . ."
—Publishers Weekly

"In thirteen novels and eight short-story collections [William Trevor] has shown himself a close observer, a fine stylist, a master psychologist. In Felicia's Journey . . . he brings all these qualities into play, and adds to them a teasing manipulation of the reader's sensibilities, so that the book has the elegant tensions of a high-class thriller."
The New York Review of Books

"One of the very best writers of our era."
—Front page, The Washington Post Book World

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Trevor, long admired for his trenchant stories and novels, his subtle humor and broad compassion, retains all those virtues in his deeply absorbing new novel and adds a degree of narrative tension he has not shown before. Felicia is a poor, plain, rather simple Irish girl made pregnant by the first boy to bed her, who then promptly disappears to England, leaving no address. When she abandons her taciturn family to look for him, her only thought is to be reunited with a lover. But she meets portly, self-delighted Mr. Hilditch, catering manager at a factory in the grimy English Midlands, who shows her unexpected kindness, even helps arrange an abortion for her; after all, he's been a good friend to so many other lost girls, hasn't he? Wary of him at first, then resigned, finally increasingly anxious as she wonders what became of his other friends, Felicia picks her numb way among psychological minefields. What happens to her and to Mr. Hilditch, in the brilliantly evoked setting of dank cafes and pubs, homeless wanderers, revivalists and bus trips to stately homes, is the stuff of nightmare; not cynically created, but one born of deep understanding and piercing truth. This is a thriller lifted to the level of high art, and it should win Trevor many new admirers. BOMC selection. (Jan.)
Library Journal
Felicia, a young Irish woman who seems doomed to a life of cooking and cleaning for her family, finds her drab existence transformed when Johnny Lysaght, a childhood friend, returns from England for a visit. After a few idyllic days, Johnny departs unexpectedly, before Felicia can ask for his address. When she discovers that she is pregnant, Felicia sets off to find him, knowing only that he works at a lawn mower factory in the Midlands. Frightened, sick, and confused by the strange accents, Felicia is befriended by a kindly older man named Hilditch, who offers her a place to sleep when her money is stolen. What she doesn't realize is that Hilditch stole the money himself, in order to force her to accept his hospitality. Trevor, whose Collected Stories was named one of the best books of 1993 by the New York Times Book Review, has written a taut psychological thriller with an unusually effective surprise ending, reminiscent of Patricia Highsmith's best work. Highly recommended. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 9/15/94.]-Edward B. St. John, Loyola Law Sch. Lib., Los Angeles

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780140253603
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
01/28/1996
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
240
Sales rank:
308,438
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 7.75(h) x 0.42(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Read an Excerpt

INTRODUCTION

William Trevor has long been hailed as one of the "very best writers of our era" (The Washington Post). In both his short stories and his novels, Trevor manages to shed light on the darkest corners of the human heart. It is no surprise, then, that with Felicia's Journey Trevor uses his gifts as a master storyteller—spare, lyrical prose; a tightly woven story; and finely drawn characters—to turn out this psychological thriller.

 

ABOUT WILLIAM TREVOR

William Trevor is the author of twenty-eight books, which include novels, short story collections, a play, a volume of memoir, and a children's tale. Among his many prizes are a 1996 Lannan Literary Award for Fiction. Two of his books were chosen by The New York Times as Best Books of the Year. His short stories appear regularly in The New Yorker.

 

AN INTERVIEW WITH WILLIAM TREVOR

Felicia's story is sad, but one that is all too common. Many young, pregnant Irish girls travel to England either to terminate a pregnancy or simply to escape the shame that is visited upon them by their families and communities. There was a very famous and controversial case in 1992 of a fourteen-year-old Irish girl who traveled to England to have an abortion. Did this particular story influence the writing of Felicia's Journey

 

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"A page-turner marked by brilliant psychological suspense."
The Philadelphia Inquirer

"Perfectly executed and chilling . . . A sad and oddly moving tale of lost opportunities and misplaced hopes."
—Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

"A battle for the soul, waged between the forces of good and evil . . . Mr. Trevor shows just how wise and wry and funny and morally astute an observer of the human comedy he is."
—Patrick McGrath, front page, The New York Times Book Review

"A thriller lifted to the level of high art . . ."
Publishers Weekly

"In thirteen novels and eight short-story collections [William Trevor] has shown himself a close observer, a fine stylist, a master psychologist. In Felicia's Journey . . . he brings all these qualities into play, and adds to them a teasing manipulation of the reader's sensibilities, so that the book has the elegant tensions of a high-class thriller."
The New York Review of Books

"One of the very best writers of our era."
—Front page, The Washington Post Book World

Meet the Author

William Trevor is the author of twenty-nine books, including Felicia’s Journey, which won the Whitbread Book of the Year Award and was made into a motion picture. In 1996 he was the recipient of the Lannan Award for Fiction. In 2001, he won the Irish Times Literature Prize for fiction. Two of his books were chosen by The New York Times as best books of the year, and his short stories appear regularly in the New Yorker. In 1997, he was named Honorary Commander of the British Empire. He lives in Devon, England.

Brief Biography

Hometown:
Devon, England
Date of Birth:
May 24, 1928
Place of Birth:
Mitchelstown, County Cork, Ireland
Education:
Trinity College, Dublin, 1950

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