MISS GOMEZ AND THE BRETHREN by William Trevor

MISS GOMEZ AND THE BRETHREN

KIRKUS REVIEW

First published in England in 1971, a rambling novel of lower-middle-class manners that lacks the distinctive qualities of the mature Trevor (After Rain, 1996, etc.). Despite the tell-tale mordant wit, the narrative slogs through an abundance of observed detail, and casts its panoramic eye so widely that it often loses focus. At the center of this shaggy story is the strange Jamaican woman Miss Gomez, orphaned when she alone survived a fire as a little girl. She eventually ran away from her orphanage, and stayed in Kingston until she got enough money to go to London. Now grown, the long-legged beauty works there as a cleaner until the promise of more money finds her stripping, then hooking. Her unhappy life changes when she discovers a pamphlet from a group back home: The Church of the Brethren of the Way. Unlike the forbidding religion of her youth, The Way promises nothing but forgiveness. Miss Gomez turns from her sinful life and follows a premonition to Crow Street, a desolate area of London that's being torn down for development. Her divinely inspired mission involves the prevention of a sex crime she's convinced will soon happen. With only two buildings inhabited in the neighborhood, there aren't many candidates for her violent scenario, but they do add up to some comic British types. The Thistle Arms houses the Tuke family--a boozy, mean mother, her dog-obsessed husband, and their sweet and pretty daughter, for whom Miss Gomez foresees a sad end. But Alban Roche, her putative abuser, in fact harbors the best of intentions, not revealed until Miss Gomez's hysterical rants have sent some bumbling bobbies and Fleet Street sleazoids into action. Back in Jamaica, Miss Gomez learns the true nature of the religious faith that has inspired her mania, but still never loses her hard-won belief in the power of prayer and Divine Intervention. Early work, strictly for fans, who are (justifiably) legion.
Pub Date: May 1st, 1997
ISBN: 0-14-025264-9
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Penguin
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 1997




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