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Angel Falling Softly Paperback – June 30, 2008
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Angel Falling Softly is more than a good read. It is a provocative meditation on life and death that will leave readers both satisfied and unnerved. It kept me reading, and it kept me guessing. -- Angela Hallstrom
One of the best Mormon novels ever written, proof positive that Mormon fiction is not dead. And even if it was, Woodbury has called it from its grave, bestowed it with immortality, and given it a mighty fine set of literary fangs. -- Stephen Carter, editor of Sunstone Magazine
It has vampires, love scenes, and is written by a Mormon author. But it's definitely not part of the Twilight series. It is, however, a good read. I would even venture to say that it's a great read. -- Blog Segulla
About the Author
Eugene Woodbury graduated from Brigham Young University with degrees in Japanese and TESOL. He has twice been a Utah Original Writing Competition finalist and is a recipient of the Sunstone Foundation Moonstone Award for short fiction. He lives in Orem, Utah, where he works as a free-lance writer and translator.
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Top customer reviews
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By Eugene Woodbury
Vampires are people, too, with feelings just like us.
Who says they should just hang out in the dark, remote region of Transylvania? Why not the suburbs of Salt Lake City, where they can learn the art of being a good neighbor, pay fast offerings, make passes at return missionaries, and bring children back from the dead?
I've had the chance to read reviews of "Angel Falling Softly," both pro and con. I've had friends refuse to review it. I wondered whether I should, but in my musings, the prism turned, and I saw the story a little differently than I did at first.
When I began reading this book with the mesmerizing cover, it was hard to put down. No matter what I was doing, I felt drawn to it. I even saw a slender, white haired young lady jogging around town, and thought of Milada Daranyi. (Is that a cool name, or what?)
About halfway through my reading, I realized this book was no fence sitter. Either you liked it, or you didn't. I know card carrying Mormons who would slurp it up like ice cream and ask for more. I know other card carrying Mormons who wouldn't get past the first arousal-before-blood-taking scene, which had my toes hanging over the line of acceptability, but pulled back before I tipped completely over the edge.
This book is not for everyone. Definitely not for anyone who can't question the sanity of a bishop's wife. In retrospect, the vampire. Milada, stuck to her morals, even showing an improvement over her early life when she became a vampire through no fault of her own. She goes to neighborhood barbecues. She shows compassion toward the original owner of a company she buys out. She no longer sucks people dry. And she can quote scripture as well as the bishop's wife. After all, she was around when the monks were writing it all down.
To her credit, Milada balks at the outrageous request of the bishop's wife. She doesn't want to do the thing that was done to her. But neighbors are supposed to help each other when they can, right?
If there is any recoil to the storyline of this book, it should not be against the vampire, it should be against the bishop's wife, who in her faithless, maniacal desperation to save her daughter, ends up losing her anyway. How ironic.
In other areas of the book, the stock market trading descriptions, though impressive, meant nearly nothing to me. The medical jargon was a little easier to follow, although it still seemed more obscure than I think it needed to be.
This is a highly imaginative novel. I would not put it on the shelf next to Gospel Doctrine, but it did have some interesting premises, such as the one the young daughter, Jennifer, put forth about vampires living such long lives (aging one year per century) so they have more time to prepare to meet God. Also, vampires in this book do not wither and die in the sun, nor do they sparkle. They get horrible sunburns that take at least three days to heal.
William Morris, founder of the literary blog A Motley Vision: Mormon Arts and Culture:
In melding the vampire genre with Mormon literary fiction, Eugene Woodbury has created a hybrid that is startling, fresh, insightful, and heartbreaking.
What's remarkable about Angel Falling Softly isn't just that Woodbury does something new with vampire themes or that he provides a complex, touching portrait of a Mormon mother desperately trying to save her terminally ill child. It's that he weaves these elements together with well-deployed literary allusions and quotations (often Biblical) that add substance to the questions raised about belief, redemption, desire, sin and death.
The novel is insistently literary while being solidly genre-based. What most amazed me is that he pulls it all off without violating the supernatural and metaphysical boundaries of Mormonism or of the vampire genre. He plays the two worlds against each other in a way that maximizes reading pleasure and says something new about the Mormon experience.
Angela Hallstrom, author of the novel Bound on Earth:
This tale of two women--one a vampire, the other a bishop's wife--is more than a good read. It is a provocative meditation on life and death that will leave readers both satisfied and unnerved. It kept me reading, and it kept me guessing.
C. L. Hanson, blogger and novelist:
Woodbury captures human relationships with realism and depth of feeling. He also paints a warm and homey portrait of Utah Mormon culture as seen from a sophisticated worldly perspective. All this is woven into a suspense-filled tale of a dangerous friendship as two women--born lifetimes apart--find the desperate courage to bet it all.
Moriah Jovan, novelist:
This isn't just a vampire story. It's a character study of the things Latter-day Saints might do when pushed into a corner with no apparent way out. The theme of the entire book can be summed up in one line: "Christians claim to believe in eternal life. So why are you so afraid of death?" Woodbury does nothing the easy or expected way in this story. There are a lot of questions and almost no answers--and I liked that. More, please.
Most recent customer reviews
Eugene's Pathway of Dreams two years ago and couldn't get through the rest for all the graphic sex, so was still willing to give this new slant on...Read more