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Felicia's Journey

3.67  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,348 Ratings  ·  250 Reviews
Full of hope, seventeen-year old Felicia crosses the Irish sea to the English Midlands in search of her lover Johnny to tell him she is pregnant. Unable to find him, alone and desperate, she is found instead by Mr. Hilditch, an obese catering manger, collector and befriender of homeless girls, who is also searching — in a way Felicia could never have imagined...
Paperback, 213 pages
Published December 10th 1995 by Vintage Canada (first published 1994)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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K.D. Absolutely
Sep 21, 2010 K.D. Absolutely rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K.D. by: 501 Must Read Books; 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (2006-2010 versions)
Shelves: 1001-core, 501, drama
One of the few modern fictions that I liked despite having not a single character I could relate to. Two reasons: (1) the writing is unique. Trevor uses parallel narrations covering the lives of the two main characters and also a lot of flashbacks for both without confusing the reader. It is like presenting two lives, each covering both their current and past, in one concise and clear go and (2) both characters are multi-dimensional, although caricaturish at times, and standing directly at the o ...more
Jayaprakash Satyamurthy
Jun 09, 2013 Jayaprakash Satyamurthy rated it really liked it
Recommended to Jayaprakash by:
Wow, this was a slow burner. Trevor has an implacably deliberate sense of pacing and an instinct for telling detail that can make a barely 120-page novel seem bigger on the inside. We are slowly given a vivid picture of a naive young Irish girl who has run away to Britain to find the boyfriend who has made her pregnant and of Mr. Hildick, a middle-aged catering manager at a factory. Hildick befriends the girl, offers her help, but he is not what he seems - he has befriended young girls in troubl ...more
Helen (Helena/Nell)
I read this novel on holiday, immediately after Patricia Highsmith’s Ripley’s Game. I had thought of the Highsmith as my murder/mystery romp and the Trevor as my ‘literary’ read. However, they have more in common than I thought. Trevor is also a bit of a murder mystery romp, the first time I’ve ever thought of him in that way. Both novels exercise psychological compulsion; both build intensity and then suddenly switch scene or character. They draw a lot of energy from what they don’t tell you—at ...more
Dera Weaver
Jun 12, 2009 Dera Weaver rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think now I will start on a William Trevor marathon--I loved The Story of Lucy Gault, and now Felicia's Journey has drawn me toward Trevor again. I've never been very good about sniffing out all the underlying political and religious tangles in Irish writing, but I do so completely "get" Trevor's take on one of my own persistent questions, one that is possibly my strongest reason for reading at all: how much is enough to make a life?
There is in this book a gradual tightening of the story that
Jul 25, 2010 Gina rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010
Dear William Trevor,

You are a lovely, lovely writer, but I don't think things are going to work out between us. This book is only just over 200 pages, but it took me a full week to read it. And I was on vacation! Initially I didn't really want to read it because I didn't want to see what horrible thing was going to happen to Felicia. Then I did want to see and you refused to tell me. Honestly, I got a bit bored. In addition, I find myself unable to relate to your characters. The reasons for the
Oct 20, 2010 Marialyce rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Now that I am done, I can't help but think that in this book, Trevor is so like Hitchcock in creating an aura of suspended suspense. There were many nuances and concepts that led one to the characters of Felicia and Mr. Hilditch. Their characterizations made them ever so real, yet ever so dreamlike. One felt sorry for the both of them, one so abused, the other so unprepared for life, so utterly stupid.

Neither one of then held any allure but the reader finds them alluring. Mr. Trevor created of c
Thought by many to be William Trevor’s greatest work in a lifetime of great works, Felicia’s Journey centers around eighteen-year-old Felicia (of course), an Irish girl adrift in the English Midlands searching for Johnny Lysaght, the young man who abandoned her in a rural Irish village, leaving her not only heartbroken but pregnant. Although Felicia’s very patriotic father believes Johnny’s run off to join the British Army (and Irish boys, he tells Felicia, should remain in Ireland), Felicia cho ...more
Feb 12, 2008 Deirdre rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: irish-studies
Incredibly well written. Haunting, but to date the only book that I have read where I physically threw the book, repulsed by the character.
Aug 01, 2012 Josh rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I had heard that William Trevor was one of the greatest writers still working today. I can't say I disagree, though this book took me a long time to read. I also can't seem to find the right adjective for his style. It's not "meditative" or "subtle" or "understated." It's exactingly stated and very dreamlike. (To that point, one five-page chapter depicts the fuzzy transition out of a dream into an equally surreal waking event. It is truly majestic writing.) So, I'm impatient and maybe a little l ...more
Jan 09, 2011 Elaine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
They say no one can tell a story like an Irishman (or woman) and William Trevor is sure testament to that. I was only familiar with his (very powerful) short stories, and plucked this from a used book shelf thinking it was stories I could read on the bus. It is a novel, whose protagonist is a young Irish girl who leaves home to try to find the boyfriend who has left without giving her his address. She knows he meant to. All she knows is that he works in the store room of a lawn mower factory in ...more
Will Tate
Sep 02, 2012 Will Tate rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had read William Trevor's "Love and Summer" and some of his short stories (I'd particularly recommend "Solitude" in the collection "A Bit on the Side") and had always been impressed by his tight plotting and his effortless use of language. He is a master of his form and can be compared to Hardy in the way that he heaps misfortunes upon his stoic characters. So I began reading this story expecting more of the same. Young Felicia secretly leaves her home in rural Ireland, where she is little mor ...more
Gord Higginson
Apr 02, 2011 Gord Higginson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating book, but not as good as Trevor's short stories. I found the Canadian-made movie (1999)in some ways superior to the book, as Atom Egoyam (the director) added a fascinating subplot about the "murderer's"(but is he actually a murderer? this idea is left open in the book) childhood to explain facets of his behavior in the movie. On the other hand, the book has a better, more realistic and darker ending, as well as a generally-better (more in-depth, detailed delineation of character) tre ...more
Oct 02, 2009 Christine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The first Trevor book I read and I thought it was excellent. Well drawn charcters, especially Felicia and Hilditch. One of the most suspenseful books I've read but in an incredibly quiet and subtle way. The last 30 pages or so of the book left me so tense I didn't even realize it until I finished it and finally felt myself relax. Read the whole book on a non-stop flight from San Francisco. Another thing I love about Trevor's books is that he doesn't need many pages to tell a really great story.
James Sillwood
Nov 19, 2014 James Sillwood rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the story of Felicia, a young naive pregnant girl from Ireland, who travels to England to find her boyfriend. During her fruitless search she meets Joseph Hilditch, a catering manager, who, at first, appears an agreeable and generous man. He helps Felicia who is quickly drawn into his world. It soon becomes clear that Mr Hilditch is a monster in disguise; a sinister character who is easily able to fool the gullible Felicia. As he lays his trap, the tension mounts, Felicia is in grave dan ...more
Katie Grainger
Aug 08, 2014 Katie Grainger rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Felicia's Journey follows a young Irish girl in search of the boy who has made her pregnant. Felicia is searching for Johnny the lad who has left her in Ireland with a bun in the oven. Armed only with the knowledge of Johnny working in a lawn mower factory Felicia sets of too the Midlands in England to find him, desperate to find out what he wants to do about the baby. However things prove more difficult than she imagines. When Felicia struggles to find Johnny she is befriended by the sinister M ...more
Allie Cresswell
Jul 03, 2014 Allie Cresswell rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book because somebody had compared my own work to William Trevor's. I must say that I feel very flattered!
Although a melancholy story with some troubled and tragic characters, this story unfolds with all the natural beauty of an unfurling rose. Layers gradually peel apart to reveal the secret heart; the heart might be blighted and bitter but it's revelation is exquisite. The reason for Felicia's journey, the fate of Mr Hilditch's other women friends, the nature of his relationship wi
Erin Almond
Apr 25, 2013 Erin Almond rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the kind of book that's so masterfully written, it's worth reading twice. The first time, you'll be on the edge of your seat, following the plot. The second time around you'll notice how efficiently the author instills a sense of place using spot-on details, and explores character histories and psychologies. Felicia is a run away from Ireland, Mr. Hilditch is a catering manager with questionable motives who finds her wandering the streets of somewhere-near-Birmingham. The narrative alter ...more
Jun 17, 2015 Fiona rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I just love William Trevor. Having read Lucy Gault, I thought this would be more of the same and I was happy with that. It's completely different though and because I hadn't read about it beforehand, totally unexpected. Mr Hilditch, who befriends lonely young girls in need of help, is a strange and fascinating character. As we learn more about him, the suspense and frustration builds and in between, we have Trevor's beautiful prose such as his full page description of the plight of the homeless. ...more
Jan 22, 2011 Paul rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
Liked it. Effortless and enjoyable, impressive writing. My biggest complaint is the pacing. For a 200-page novel, this felt slow. It felt like a novella stretched into a novel. Lots of flashbacks/backstory, lots of reticence. Reticence to the point of coyness, at times, which is annoying but maybe acceptable for this sort of novel? I was definitely at the edge of my seat. When I was at the edge of my seat, anyway. Lots of times I was slogging through backstory going Yeah, okay, but what happens ...more
Dec 18, 2010 Savvy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
With his carefully crafted, starkly rich prose, William Trevor explores some of the darkest corners of the human psyche.
Taking his hand is always a journey...but for Felicia, a journey at once intensely complicated and desolately mendacious!

In the disturbed mind of Mr. Hilditch, a darkness nurtured in childhood and fed (literally) from the ministrations of a famous celebrity chef.
A pudgy young boy with a beautiful and overly patronizing mother who feeds his need to be deceptively caring to you
Aug 28, 2007 Gbeab rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am absorbed at last in Chapter 18 where it's clear what has wrung poor Hilditch out to dry his whole life. The most moving and close portrait of him resides in Chapter 18, especially pages 147-48 in the edition (pictured) I am reading. Felicia is not painted or portrayed near as close as Hilditch and it makes me wonder how her journey isn't his. What am I missing in this construction, to title a book as though to attribute the journey to the lead named character, yet to follow into the blood t ...more
Felicia is a young, pregnant Irishwoman just arrived in England to locate the father of her child. Her family back at home, proud of their history in the Irish battles for independence, are enraged about her condition and suspicious that her boyfriend is in the British Army. Her boyfriend's mother hates her and refuses to give his address in England. She has only the information he told her when they were together, that he sells lawnmowers at a factory that produces them, and the name of an Engl ...more
Whoa, this isn't the typical kind of book that I would read. But it was on my bookshelf and it was a short-story.

This book reminded me of Edgar Allen Poe's, "The Tell-Tale Heart." Remember reading that one in high school? It creeps you out the entire time your reading it, and you're just waiting for something bad to happen. And it does. Just like this book.

A 17-year old girl, Felicia, goes looking for her summer fling, Johnny, who has left for England without leaving her an address (he's going t
Nov 11, 2010 Alan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
reading through my 1995 notebook, came across this:
Felicia's Journay - Trevor writes so well that the lines slip by easily, only later you realise what information is loaded in them. An old story: a pregnant, sheltered Irsih teenager comes to England to search for her boyfreind. All she knows is he works in a lawnmower factory. Gets caught up with down and outs, religious nutters and a sinister seemingly polite and solicitous chap. The book is filled with brand names, shopping arcades, heroin ad
Honestly, my reading of this suffered greatly from having first seen the movie. Trevor's prose is without reproach and frequently so deft that it's astonishing. This novel is truly a psychological thriller with an emphasis on the psychological. As the characters start to fall apart mentally, so too does the narrative. Trevor makes it so the reader is stuck in the same mental loops as Hilditch. The approach was problematic for me because mental trains of thought and this novel feel repetitive. By ...more
Nov 04, 2007 peg rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
William Trevor is one of my favorite authors. Felicia's Journey is about a young Irish girl who finds herself pregnant.In desperation she flees to England where she is befriended by an older man who,by outward appearances,wants to help her,he even arranges for Felicia to have an abortion. As the story unfolds, the man's sinister character is revealed and Felicia's Journey becomes a suspenseful yarn portraying evil and the macabre. Trevor's writing is subtle but his characters have remarkable dep ...more
May 15, 2015 Erica rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2015
I typically really enjoy William Trevor, and I really liked the first half of this book, and then the very end, but some of the latter middle was just...meh. However, in a recent discussion with a friend about the lack of working class voices in writing, I realised that Trevor gives us the Irish working class voice: here we have Felicia, accidentally pregnant by a lying boy, who emigrated to England. She follows him, not knowing, really, where he is. She doesn't do a whole lot of thinking on her ...more
Feb 16, 2014 John rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Perhaps it was a mistake for the publisher to say in the blurb that this would "magnetize fans of . . . Ruth Rendell at her most chilling"; Ruth Rendell, as I was reminded on reading her/Barbara Vine's The Chimney Sweeper's Boy just the other day, writes Ruth Rendell novels so much better than anyone else! So I had to try to look at this as a William Trevor novel, not a Ruth Rendell one.

Irish small-town girl Felicia falls pregnant by her boyfriend Johnny. He was home just briefly to visit his mu
Anne Sanow
Feb 08, 2008 Anne Sanow rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was lucky enough to read this in hardback and before the movie came out, because the book's flap copy didn't give away creepy Hilditch's true character; I actually experienced a moment of horrific revelation. Readers just coming to the book now might do well to skip the paperback's copy and the movie before reading. Whether you do or not (and the movie is quite wonderful, by the way), this story is definitely five-star Trevor for its precise, in-depth characters and broader cultural sweep.
Jan 09, 2015 Patrick rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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William Trevor, KBE grew up in various provincial towns and attended a number of schools, graduating from Trinity College, in Dublin, with a degree in history. He first exercised his artistry as a sculptor, working as a teacher in Northern Ireland and then emigrated to England in search of work when the school went bankrupt. He could have returned to Ireland once he became a successful writer, he ...more
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