William Trevor Ç 8 DownloadT to the final chapters In fact perhaps there IS SIMPLY TOO MUCH EXPLANATION PERIOD I AM REMIND simply too much explanation period I am emind 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 ead it And I was on vacation Initially I didn t eally want to ead 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 efused to tell me Honestly I got a bit bored In addition "I Find Myself Unable "find myself unable elate to your characters The easons for the nonsensical actions they take feel a little thin to me or in the case of Lucy Gault a lot thin I suspect that this has something to do with the Irish fatalism I ve heard so much about but don t eally get Oh well Perhaps our paths will cross again someday I hear you write wonderful short stories Best wishesGina One of the few modern fictions that I liked despite having not a single character I could elate to Two easons 1 the writing is uniue Trevor uses parallel narrations covering the lives of the two main characters and also a lot of flashbacks for both without confusing the eader 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 opposite sides of a pole The way he presents them is like a symphony starting soft and simple then smoothly and slowly builds up until it eaches the climax before mellowing down at the end It is like presenting two characters in contrast entertwining them in the middle eaching together their highest peak before beautifully falling down separately and settling on a soft leaf floating on a pond Lyrical yet arresting narration Exact and up to the point plot development Each word contributing to the story Just like symphony where each instrument plays a part in creating good uality unforgettable musicDon t get the wrong picture though Although Trevor incorporates lots of music and food here this novel is not your usual feel good story This is about a single loveless middle age obese lunatic Mr Hilditch who fools the naive clueless young pregnant Felicia making her believe that he is helping her find her missing boyfriend Felicia is an Irish girl who is left pregnant by an Irish man Johnny who serves in the British army making him not a suitable husband according to Felicia s patriotic father So pregnant Felicia leaves Ireland to find Johnny in the UK only to fall prey to the lunatic Mr Hilditch Think Psycho male protagonist meeting a pregnant female boarder minus the knife and ax Then that Psycho killer is given a lot of screen time showing his soft less evil normal side like cooking sumptous meals listening to his favorite music working hard in the estaurant that he manages being liked by his subordinates and getting along wll with girls in his own fantasy Memory Lane world Brilliant characterizations making these two characters among the fiction people I will emember for a long timeThe only two easons why I am not giving this a perfect 5 are also two 1 so many id This is my final book from the Mookse Madness list and is perhaps the most difficult of them to assess and eview there are 64 books on the list but I had ead 43 of them before it was announced As always Trevor s prose is immaculate and he shows great empathy for his characters while subjecting them to hideous tormentsInitially the story appears to be that of Felicia an innocent 17 year old Irish girl who becomes pregnant by Johnny Lysaght a slightly older man who works in England and has told her he works in a lawn mower factory though her father tells her he is in the British army Felicia s attempts to contact him fail and she steals some money from her family to enable her to travel to England to search for him taking just a couple of plastic bags of belongings Her searches soon prove fruitlessNext we are introduced to Hilditch a lonely middle aged man who works as a catering manager for a factory He initially appears to befriend and help Felicia tells her he has a wife who is seriously ill in hospital and provides a few leads for her search for Johnny but it soon becomes clear that he is not telling her all he knows A lighter subplot concerns a crackpot eligious sect who go ound door to door pushing their message one of these also befriends Felicia The denouement starts when Felicia discovers that most of her money has disappeared I can t describe how I feel about this without esorting to spoilers so please do not ead on if you intend to ead this book soonview spoiler She eturns to Hilditch who takes her in and arranges an abortion for her About two. Ts up with Mr Hilditch who is ooking for a new friend to join the five other girls in his Memory Lane But strange sad terrifying tricks of chance unravel both his and Felicia's delusions in.
I ead this novel on holiday immediately after Patricia Highsmith s Ripley s Game I had thought of the Highsmith as my murdermystery omp and the Trevor as my literary ead However they have in common than I thought Trevor is also a bit of a murder mystery omp 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 least not until the very endWilliam Trevor is the chilling of the two because *His Characters Feel Real My Familiarity With This Irish Writer * characters feel eal My familiarity with this Irish writer through his short stories many of which are magnificent character studies With Trevor you can assume nothing anything is possible even though the world in which it happens will be impossibly ordinaryHe writes beautifully His narrative style is careful and measured on the traditional side in a good way He likes the present tense and he uses it unobtrusively to bring you uncomfortably close to the actionWe have two main characters in this novel Mr Hilditch the English catering manager and Felicia the un away pregnant Irish girl Both are victims though Hilditch is also a predator Trevor s description of them is meticulous He lays down small details beautifully and nothing is accidental Here is Hilditch The private life of Mr Hilditch is on the one hand ordinary and expected on the other secretive To his colleagues at the factory he appears to be in essence as jovial and agreeable as his exterior intimates His bulk suggests a man careless of his own longevity his smiling presence indicates an extrovert philosophy But Mr Hilditch in his lone moments is often brought closer to other darker aspects of the depths that lie within him When a smile no longer matters he can be a melancholy man What a beautiful final sentence that is When a smile no longer matters The best words in the best order it is surely than just proseThe sinister side of Mr H is there from the start Then there s the innocent seventeen year old ironically named Felicia who uns away to find her boyfriend "Johnny Lysaght He left without a forwarding address and she is carrying his child When Mr Hilditch gives her directions he "Lysaght He left without a forwarding address and she is carrying his child When Mr Hilditch gives her directions he her type immediately She is lost and "She Is Looking For Someone "is looking for someone her whole world in two carrier bags He follows her She is indeed alone Names of other girls start to trickle through his mind What happened to them We don t know though we are already uneasy The first seriously sinister eference is in chapter 7 The frisson of excitement that has been with him all day is charged with a greater surge now that he has spoken to the Irish girl again never before has there been a girl as close to home as this one a girl who actually approached him on the works premises Elsie Covington cropped up in Uttoxeter Beth in Wolverhampton Gaye in Market Drayton Sharon was Wigston Jekki Walsall All of them like the Irish girl came from further afield and were heading elsewhere anywhere in most cases You make the ule about not soiling your own doorstep not shopping locally as the saying goes you go to lengths to keep the ule in place but this time the thing just happened Fruit falling from a tree you haven t even shaken something meant it feels like And perhaps to do with being approached ather than the other way ound Mr Hilditch senses a promise this time the elationship is destined to be special Meanwhile we empathise with Felicia s thinking as her circumstances get worse and worse Hilditch while pretending to be kind steals her money so that she will be vulnerable but she doesn t know this She starts off in cheap bed and breakfast places but is soon sleeping ough We know he is out to get her We know it is only a matter of time before she will enter his house desperate for any form of shelter Her mental pain gets worse Soon it is physical pain when he persuades her to have a late abortion at his expenseHe is a serial killer isn t he That s certainly what we assume And the fascination is like watching a cat playing with a mouse The cat has practised this many times The mouse is doomed But what kind of serial killer weeps like this Tears flow from Mr Hilditch becoming ivulets in the flesh of his cheeks and his chin dripping on to his neck dampening his shirt and his waistcoat His sobbing becomes a moaning in the oom a sound as from an animal suffering beyond endurance distraught and piteous It is a very sad novel He is of course a killer but not uite like you think Nothing ends up uite like you think as the novel builds in momentum and sweeps you along with itIt is powerful writing If there is a weakness it is that too much of the explanation for Hilditch s motivation is lef. Felicia is unmarried pregnant and penniless She steals away from a small Irish town and drifts through the industrial English Midlands searching for the boyfriend who left her Instead she mee. Thirds of the way through there is a dramatic scene in which Felicia asks Hilditch for money to eturn home he suggests a late night drive and she ightly suspects his true motive is to dispose of her so she tries to escape We then move to Hilditch s perspective and the next few chapters describe his further mental disintegration as he is unable to emember what happened to Felicia we are led to believe that he has murdered her as he has dealt with the several other lonely troubled girls he has befriended a torment which eventually leads him to suicide He is harassed The Religious Group Who "the eligious group who that the missing Felicia mentioned him he eventually admits to having taken her money But in the final chapter we discover that Felicia escaped to a vagrant life in another city so there is a tentative note of edemption This is a brilliantly executed character study Hilditch is a chillingly macabre but very human creation but it is a very bleak book and a deeply uneasy one to ead and it left me with serious eservations about Trevor s motivation to write it and his intentions hide spoiler Her mourning is to wonder25The storyline immediately catches the eye a teenage Irish girl abandons her family leaves her hometown and crosses over to England to find the elusive lover who impregnated her during a brief encounter they had had at home In England without knowing the whereabouts of the man and all by herself she falls prey to one Mr Hilditch a middle aged predator with a dark past who maintains a espectable social profile This then becomes the story of her loss and survivalBut we have heard all that before Many times over Knowing William Trevor s eputation I prepared myself to be awed at the new way of doing the old topic but unfortunately my desire to enjoy and appreciate this novel was not fulfilled The writing is good at times lyrical and evocative brooding and haunting but for the most part very ordinary and un of the mill The character of Felicia is underdeveloped She is na ve innocent trusting yet sensible enough to smell danger when things begin to turn Nothing can be said of her It s thinly drawn and two dimensional almost a stereotype of a small town young Irish female and feels like she s put in there to develop and advance the story of her predator Mr Hilditch who however is carefully drawn and passably credible He is a conniving deceiving manipulative man with a stable job but lives a lonely and loveless life He has a history of preying on the emotionally and financially distressed vulnerable young women When a new opportunity in the figure of "Felicia comes to him he s all set to exploit it to the full Felicia becomes his undoing but the "comes to him he s all set to exploit it to the full Felicia becomes his undoing but the of events that unravels him does not seem uite plausible to meThe narrative follows a linear stream with plentiful flashbacks to contextualise their lives and eveal the backstories of both characters I felt that much of Hilditch s backstory is withheld to be told much later in order to give it a feel of a thriller ather than a profound exploration of the novel s themes and its characters mental states These later evelations of important details skew the eading experience of the earlier two third of the novelI have a number of other uibbles with the authorial choices There is too much info dump of names and places brands and businesses etc with no eal bearing on what s being told which hinders the smooth eading of the story For instance early on fifteen characters plus five extra names are introduced in less than two pages Only two or three of them are used again in a few inconseuential situations which could easily have been dispensed with And of places I do not want to know the names of so many businesses establishments on so many streets just to locate a setting where they dine or meet once or twice and whose location is absolutely unnecessary anyway to what came before and what is to come after This kind of detailed geographical mapping and name naming has its uses but not in the story under uestionAnother problem is the author s slightly irritating narrational choice of beginning a new chapter in medias es You ead a couple of paragraphs full of pronouns to find out what it is that s being talked about This isn t a problem per se it s just that some writers do it better than others I didn t like the confusions of the first few lines not knowing what I was eading about until a few paragraphs laterAll things considered it is possible to appreciate this novel for the nature of its topic It is essentially a sad story of a broken hearted young girl who finds no edemption and is lost to the vagaries of fate You would shed a tear or two at Fecilia s fate as you turn the last page No wonder the book is so popularNovember A story that will magnetize fans of Alfred Hitchcock and Ruth Rendell even as it esonates with William Trevor's own impeccable strength and piercing profundity The Washington Post Book World. .