William Trevor was born in Mitchelstown, County Cork, and spent his childhood in provincial Ireland. He studied at Trinity College, Dublin. He 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, and The Story of Lucy Gault, which was shortlisted for both the Man Booker Prize and the Whitbread Fiction Prize. 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 appeared regularly in the New Yorker. In 1997, he was named Honorary Commander of the British Empire.
Elegant Irish writer Trevor (Excursions in the Real World, LJ 1/94), whose sales have been increasing regularly, may break out with this story of a pregnant Irish girl who heads for England to find her lost love but is instead followed by a man who may be a serial killer.
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.)
"A page-turner marked by brilliant psychological suspense."
-The Philadelphia Inquirer
"Felicia's Journey is packed with extraordinary passages."
"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, 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."
-The Washington Post Book World