Saturday, September 16, 2006

The Gate of Angels by Penelope Fitzgerald

This is a lovely little book, written with economy and subtle humor. It’s a simple story of a sheltered young scholar and the plucky working class girl who catches his fancy. Both characters’ stories are told with fresh detail and precise language. Every sentence is perfect. That said, it lacked any sort of driving force; there was nothing to move me forward through the story, no suspense, no unanswered questions. I never wondered “how it would turn out.” A very short book, it still took me nearly a week to read, because I felt no pull to get back to it and at times a magazine seemed more appealing as a reading choice. Was the book boring? Not at all. Why did I have to force myself to finish it?

Here is a link to the Guardian's obituary of Fitzgerald, who died in 2000.
(Book 42, 2006)


Anonymous said...

I don't think the above review covers the themes of scientific ideas, random chance and mind underlying the "simple" plot...

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