BOOKS: Seduced and Abandoned

Irish writer William Trevor brings freshness to an old story

An innocent young Irish girl is seduced, and later finds herself in a family way. Rather than face the anger of her father and brothers and the contempt of her friends and neighbors, she runs away to search for her lover, who departed without leaving a precise forwarding address. This tale, of course, has had many tellings; it's hard to think of an Irish writer who hasn't tackled it. Yet in Felicia's Journey (Viking; 213 pages; $21.95), William Trevor makes his heroine's plight and flight seem entirely original.

Which is exactly the way it appears to Felicia, who has never had...

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