- Paperback: 224 pages
- Publisher: Penguin Books (October 10, 1999)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0140290214
- ISBN-13: 978-0140290219
- Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.4 x 7.7 inches
- Shipping Weight: 6.1 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 62 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,316,225 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Felicia's Journey Paperback – October 10, 1999
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Felicia's Journey is a simple tale told with a subtle complexity. Felicia is an Irish country girl who has come to England to look for her jilted lover. Hilditch is a mild-mannered, gentle psychopath who lures the helpless Felicia into his trap. Interestingly, we see the story from each character's eyes when they are separate, but from Hilditch's view when they are together. It is an unusual and effective device that distorts the perspective and adds texture to a classic story. Trevor won a Whitbread Prize in 1994 for Felicia's Journey. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers 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.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Felicia is a seventeen year old motherless and naive Irish girl, who has become intimate with an Irish boy named Johnny. Of course, the expected ensues, and after Johnny has left Ireland and returned to England where he ostensibly works, Felicia is left holding the bag. Her disapproving father suspects Johnny of actually being in the British Army and, thus, a traitor to his own. He also has a few choice words for his daughter, now that she is in the family way, and none of it is flattering. So, Felicia leaves her rural village and her family and goes off in search of Johnny, having nothing more than the vaguest of ideas where he might be.
She crosses the Irish Sea and arrives in the English Midlands in the industrial city of Birmingham, as she believes Johnny to be working in a lawn mower factory there. In her search for Johnny, she runs into the portly catering manager for one of the local factories. His name is Joseph Ambrose Hilditch, and he is outwardly a jovial and agreeable man, well-liked by his co-workers and meticulous about his culinary repasts. He lives in solitary splendor in the large house in which he grew up. The house is cluttered with collectibles but well- kept, although decorated in the style of a bygone era. Mr. Hilditch is, indeed, a collector, but his collection is initially far beyond Felicia's imaginings. In fact, Mr. Hilditch has a darker side to him, which is not immediately discernible by the unwary.
When Felicia first meets Mr. Hilditch, it is to ask for information, but something about her catches Mr. Hilditch's fancy, and he finds himself keeping Felicia in his crosshairs. When Felicia seemingly unexpectedly runs into Mr. Hilditch again, he directs her to lodgings, and so it begins. As Mr. Hilditch insinuates himself ever so slowly into her life, weaving a fantasy about his own life that is sure to put her mind at ease about him. Felicia begins finding herself ensnared by this ostensibly kind and ever so helpful, avuncular man, and she initially fails to see the darkness that lies at the core of his being.
The author begins the book with Felicia's journey to England in search of her lover. Using flashbacks throughout the story, the author fills in Felicia's background and describes the events that have brought her to the point of making this journey. When Mr. Hilditch is introduced to the reader, the author begins to take the reader into the recesses of his mind, allowing the reader to see what Felicia initially fails to see, the duplicity and cunning that is masked by his overt geniality. Like a spider to the fly, Mr. Hilditch begins laying his trap, and so Felicia's journey thrusts her into the belly of the beast.
With his carefully cadenced prose, the author explores the darker corners of the human psyche, and in the mind of Mr. Hilditch, it is dark, indeed. As his carefully constructed psychological house of cards begins to fall, there are unspeakable revelations as to what lies at the heart of Mr. Hilditch's predilection, and it is not pretty. The author, in taking the reader into the recesses of the mind of each of the two protagonists, tries to explain how it is that each of these two flawed human beings were able initially to achieve a connection with another, only to find ostensible betrayal. What is decidedly different is the way that they each cope with that betrayal.
There is no happily-ever-after ending to this story, which culminates with a conclusion that is quite bleak, robbing the reader of some satisfaction. Fans of Ruth Rendell, however, will very much appreciate the psychological cat and mouse game that is played throughout and will enjoy the author's foray into this genre. As always, the author pens a novel that provides much food for thought on many levels, and the use of the word journey in the title of the book has a much broader meaning within the context of the story. In reading this book, fans will enjoy the elegant, spare prose that they have come to expect from this enormously talented author.
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