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Angels of Destruction: A Novel Paperback – October 13, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Roughcut edition.
“Norah’s unexplained origins form the enigmatic core of this story . . . the novel movingly illustrates the quest for connection hardwired into every human heart.”
“[A] strange and finely written novel. Donohue has a talent for using small details to draw his characters, and the result is a dark and unsettling story that takes hold of the reader.”
“Fused with spectral imagery and magnetic characters, Donohue’s ethereal foray into the unexpected consequences of love, impenetrable depths of loss, and infinite possibilities of faith is a chilling yet affirmative experience.”
“[A] beguiling tale of those who love well, but not wisely, unspooling like a poem embroidered on the heart — ornate, painful and true. . . . While some readers might liken Donohue’s penchant for mystical realism to that of novelist Alice Hoffman, any sweeping comparisons shortchange both writers, whose immense gifts bear separate and distinct literary imprimaturs. Still, he shares Hoffman’s uncanny ear for capturing the libretto of childhood . . .”
“Angels of Destruction is replete with ghostly presences, harbingers of doom, angels good and bad. Surveys indicate that more than half of us believe in angels, so this otherworldly novel should find a ready audience.”
“Donohue never quite reveals the mystery at the heart of Norah's sudden appearance, and that makes Angels of Destruction all the more satisfying and, yes, believable. Literary and historical clues are scattered throughout: references to the atomic bomb; a spectral man in fedora and camel-hair coat who pursues Norah and haunts Margaret; and an oblique nod to the Liber Juratus, a 14th-century manuscript containing a roll call of angels. The talisman that both Norah and Una pass on to those they love is a child's teacup with a chip in it, which invokes Auden's great poem As I Walked Out One Evening: ‘The crack in the tea-cup opens/A lane to the land of the dead.’
Angels of Destruction doesn't shrink from the tragedies and inevitable separations that dog us. The book's coda is beautiful and wrenching, yet still leaves its protagonists and readers open to the possibility that the miraculous, once glimpsed, might recur. ‘Love is not consolation, it is light,’ wrote Simone Weil. In these bleak times, we can thank Donohue for opening a door in a darkened room.”
Fans of the author’s debut novel, The Stolen Child, will enjoy the same balancing act between reality and fantasy. . . . Donohue marries some fantastical themes with an unadorned style of writing that should appeal to realists and fantasy fans alike.”
“With ‘Angels,’ Donohue delivers a magical tale of love and redemption that is as wonderfully written as it is captivating. . . . Donohue is delightfully descriptive in his writing. His word choices are carefully considered . . . and his pacing rivets you to page after page. . . . ‘Angels’ earns its wings.”
“Angels of Destruction is charming, suspenseful, and even touching.”
—New York Daily News
Praise for The Stolen Child
“A captivating tale . . . poignant and beautifully told.”
“A wonderful, fantasy-laden debut . . . so spare and unsentimental that it’s impossible not to be moved.”
“Utterly absorbing . . . a luminous and thrilling novel about our humanity.”
“The book’s emotional impact is as fierce as the imagination behind it. The result is magical.”
“An ingenious, spirited allegory for adolescent angst, aging, the purpose of art.”
“Unusual and engaging . . . puts flesh to the bones of old fears.”
From the Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
I recommend this book to anyone that enjoys the fantastic, the painful, the hopeful, and the thoughtful. It grabs you by the heart from page one and does not let go. For those that have read The Stolen Child, I found this book to be superior, especially in terms of character development.
The story begins in 1985. One bitterly cold night, Margaret quinn, a widow, who lives alone and still mourns the loss of her child; a daughter, who ran away a decade earlier with the boy that she loved, opens the door to find Norah, a small bespectacled girl, frozen and shivering with a battered suitcase leaning against her legs. Margaret takes the girl in, but who is she and what is her purpose?
The second part of the book flashes back to 1975 and tells the story of Erica, Margaret's child, and Wiley, a boy who is obsessed with the Angels of Destruction, a group of radicals, and decides to join their revolution. It reveals how love is at times blind and how it can sweep you along with things you have no control over. Part three returns to 1985 and is about forgiveness and hope. The two parts preceding are now entwined and come together in conclusion.
This book is expertly written. There is fantasy and magic, but it's subtle and weaves its way through the story leading the reader to believe, without question. However, for me, the story was more about love and loss, grief and forgiveness. It is haunting and melancholy without sentimentality. The mystery behind Norah, Una and the man in the camel-haired coat is never really revealed, but the hint of angels influences us in who we believe them to be. The true essence of the story does have an ending, which is very moving.
This is not a quick read, but then I wouldn't want it to be. The story demands the pace to be slow to coincide with the sorrowful atmosphere.
I really enjoyed this book and highly recommend it.
(I gave this 7/10 on my blog)
The novel begins with Margaret Quinn taking in a little girl who just shows up on her doorstep. She calls the girl Norah and they cook up a story about her being Margaret's grandchild. Norah fills the void that Margaret has felt since her daughter ran away many years ago. The relationship between the two is very sweet and Margaret opens her heart to Norah. Their neighbor Sean Fallon soon becomes Norah's best friend and the two are practically inseperable. Sean is also missing somebody, his father, who left their family. The way that Norah comforts Sean as well as Margaret by trying to pull them out of their lonliness is what I would expect a fledgling angel to behave. Soon however, Norah goes a little too far with her claims and "magic" and the people in town become frightened for their children's safety and fearful because Norah is just too different.
The book also tells the journey of Erica, Margaret's daughter, who ran away with her politically radical boyfriend and their adventures and experiences on the road. She encounters many people along the way who warn her that she is on the wrong path, but unfortunately she doesn't listen. Violent actions and unplanned surprises once again change the course of her life.
I did love how the theme of birds is threaded throughout the story, echoing that Norah is an angel. There is never any definitive resolution to this which I don't mind. I like to wonder and ponder about events in a story. Perhaps it reflects what the characters in the book went through.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is the second book of Keith Donohue's that I've read. I really enjoyed it, especially the Pittsburgh references, for obvious reasons. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Rosemary K. Ravasio
Donohue asks questions about interconnections, our belief in things outside our rational thought process and brings his characters alive. Read morePublished on August 27, 2013 by D. Kersten
Starts out very promising, but doesn't deliver. Excellent characters, but the plot loses focus and meanders. Read morePublished on February 9, 2011 by laurenpie
I read his first book The Stolen Child and fell in love with it. I went out and bought my own copy and have sicne read it a few more times. Read morePublished on February 18, 2010 by sundance
I was disappointed in this novel. I haven't read The Stolen Child, so this was my first exposure to Donahue's style. I have to admit I wasn't that impressed. Read morePublished on October 14, 2009 by cassabb
No. I had a hard enough time buying the precocious 9-year-old thing. Then, after I had invested a lot of time listening to this book, it turns out she is an ACTUAL angel, if an... Read morePublished on September 8, 2009 by Audiophile
Keith Donohue is a wonderful writer. That being said, this story left me slightly disappointed. I wish there were more answers, more definitive conclusions... Read morePublished on August 15, 2009 by Kreestan