Sunday, May 22, 2016

Felicia's Journey by William Trevor

An Irish girl in trouble encounters an epicurean canteen manager

Felicia, an unemployed Irish teen who shares a bedroom with her 100 year old great grandmother, meets handsome Johnny Lasaght, worker in a lawnmower factory, and is smitten.  Johnny, however, is cagey about letting her know his exact address.  Despite her father’s warnings, once her period is late, Felicia realizes she must locate the now departed Johnny.  Armed with nothing more than the name of a town in England, Felicia runs away to find the lawnmower factory.  However, as it has become perfectly obvious to the reader, Johnny has no intention of being found.  The frightened girl wandering the streets of the inhospitable city rouses the curiosity of fastidious Mr. Hilditch, who loves cookies, as well as apparently "rescuing" lost young women.  Rescuing them and perhaps more. Anyway, the previous five girls he rescued can now be found in his own private “Memory Lane,” a shadowy place in which he often contemplatively strolls.  Once the lawnmower factory turns out to be a fiction, Felicia has more gumption than expected.  She encounters a religious cult, squatters, and once again the chilling Mr. Hilditch before finding her own kind of peace.

The reading of this was at first slow going.  The characters seemed stock and Felicia’s ignorance was annoying.  What pulled me in was the pure self centeredness of Mr. Hilditch, the insane care he takes with food shopping and preparation, his own personal wellbeing.  He thinks of nothing but himself, although the reader soon starts to feel sorry for him, sorry for his loneliness.  He is the patient spider laying a trap for the fly.  The writing was extremely beautiful, the descriptions were exquisite. But reading this was a little like drinking soda pop out of a silver chalice.  The plot is basically Psycho.  I didn’t buy the ending, though it had a certain kind of beauty.  Arrayed against the sweet cookie selection and the never described murders, we witness goodness and good people.

No comments:

Post a Comment