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.)
Reviewed on: 01/02/1995 Release date: 01/01/1995 Genre: Fiction
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