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Angels: A Novel

Angels: A Novel

3.9 49
by Marian Keyes

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After catching her husband having an affair and being fired from her job, Maggie Walsh suddenly finds her perfectly organized existence has become a perfect mess. She decides, for the first time in her life, to do something daring -- and flees to her best friend, Emily, in the faraway wonderland of Los Angeles. In this mecca of tanned, beautiful bodies, unsvelte,


After catching her husband having an affair and being fired from her job, Maggie Walsh suddenly finds her perfectly organized existence has become a perfect mess. She decides, for the first time in her life, to do something daring -- and flees to her best friend, Emily, in the faraway wonderland of Los Angeles. In this mecca of tanned, beautiful bodies, unsvelte, uncool Maggie is decidedly a fish out of water. Yet, overnight, she's mixing with film folk, pitching scripts, even experimenting with sex -- and discovering that the end of a marriage is not the end of the world.

Editorial Reviews

“Wacky and wonderful...She imbues her charming stories about flawed yet feisty women with incredible warmth and wit.”
Boston Herald
“Warm–hearted and hilarious.”
San Jose Mercury News
“A funny, good–hearted comic novel.”
Washington Post
“Beguiling….A balmy, welcoming emotional climate.”
Associated Press
“A heavenly romp…Keyes entertains every inch of the way.”
Associated Press Staff
“A heavenly romp…Keyes entertains every inch of the way.”
Publishers Weekly
Thirty-three-year-old Brit Margaret ("Maggie") Walsh is going through a "bad patch": she's drunk her contact lenses for "the third time in six weeks"; she's lost her job; and her nine-year marriage to Garv is over. Thus begins Keyes's enormously entertaining fifth novel. She resurrects the "maintenance-level dysfunctional" Walsh family: sisters Claire (Watermelon), Rachel (Rachel's Holiday), Helen and Anna, plus a befuddled dad and hyper-as-a-hummingbird mum. Maggie, however, is the "good" sister, so it is especially shameful when she must slink back home. She tends to the "mourning sickness" over her failed marriage, which Keyes describes with surprising depth and verisimilitude, and begins fantasizing about what might have been with her first love, Shay Delaney. Accepting an invitation from her best friend, Emily, a struggling screenwriter, Maggie visits L.A., the mecca of reinvention. She decides to trade in her "plain yogurt" persona for that of bad girl and takes an oft-bumpy walk on the wild side, with results that are riotously and embarrassingly silly. Amid her drunken nights and poor flirting choices, she throws herself into the glittering cesspool of La-la-land: acting as Emily's assistant, she witnesses the superficial frivolity and vicious fickleness of the entertainment business. Keyes's observations may be familiar (on aura reading, fake boobs, sadistic eyebrow groomers, the dependence of social status on cars), but her cleverly hilarious approach, especially as a foreigner, keep them fresh. Although this is unquestionably a fun read, Keyes refrains from turning it into fluff and delivers a well-rounded story. Her themes of love and redemption coupled with her familiar, best-friend tone have made her wildly popular in the U.K. and, like her latest novel, should ensure her a Hollywood ending in the U.S. as well. 7-city author tour. (June) Forecast: This is Keyes's first novel set in the U.S., which should win her something closer to the audience she commands abroad, where her books are perennial bestsellers. Look for a PW Interview with Keyes in June. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
There are many ways to respond to losing your job and seeing your marriage dissolve. Fleeing into the fantasies and neuroses of Hollywood may not be the sanest choice, but when a screenwriter friend offers her a home, Maggie Garvin packs her bags and trades Dublin for Los Angeles. The result is another entry in the Bridget Jones line of young women finding their way through life. As with her other popular novels, including Last Chance Saloon and Rachel's Holiday, Keyes provides more than just quick laughs. There is plenty of wit in the roller coaster of emotions and in Maggie's learning to navigate the hype and hysteria of the film world not to mention protecting the innocents of Hollywood from her screwball family as they turn tourist. But there is also compassionate treatment of the anguish of miscarriage and how sorrow can separate a couple. Recommended for all public libraries. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 2/15/02; for another Bridget Jones-goes-to-California novel, see Jane Green's Jemima J. Ed.] Jan Blodgett, Davidson Coll. Lib., NC Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Queen of the girlie-girl novel, Irish author Keyes makes her fifth outing-and first to be set in the US-a laugh-out-loud tour through the land of broken hearts and fun shoes. The life catastrophes of Claire and Rachel have been addressed previously (Watermelon, 1998; Rachel's Holiday, 2000), and now it's time for Maggie, the "good one" of the five Irish Walsh girls. Likened to warm, plain yogurt, Maggie has indeed kept to the straight and narrow (although this is in comparison, mind you, to her alcoholic, drug-abusing, man-eating sisters) with a nice job, nice house, and an even nicer husband named Garv. But when Maggie discovers after nine years of marriage that Garv may have been having an affair, she leaves him, going first to her parents' house in Dublin, then to Los Angeles (why not, since she's also just been fired) to stay with best friend Emily. A struggling screenwriter, Emily introduces Maggie to the Hollywood life: actress/model/waitresses (mattresses, for short), phony-baloney double-speak, plastic-surgeried everything, bluish-brown skies, white furniture, and anorexic dogs. Her own life a shambles, Maggie tumbles into Emily's world of friends (yummy indie director Troy, beautiful lesbian Lara), screenwriting (if Emily's newest script doesn't work out, she's back to Dublin), and cocktail parties with "complicated martinis." Maggie falls in love briefly with Troy, then with Lara, but in truth it's really Garv she wants, and it may be that their recent "set-backs" have been caused less by marital malaise than by the two miscarriages Maggie recently had. Will Maggie ever find happiness again? Will she stay in LA? Will Emily really rewrite her screenplay with an all-dog cast? Restassured, reader, all works out as it should. It's little surprise that all Keyes's novels are released in summer-with their appealing combination of lighthearted humor, high-end shopping, and a little true love. Author tour

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Harper Perennial
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Product dimensions:
5.31(w) x 8.00(h) x 1.01(d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

I'd always lived a fairly blameless life. Up until the day I left my husband and then ran away to Hollywood, I'd hardly ever put a foot wrong. Not one that many people knew about, anyway. So when, out of the blue, everything just disintegrated like wet paper, I couldn't shake a wormy suspicion that this was long overdue. All that clean living simply isn't natural.

Of course, I didn't just wake up one morning and skip the country, leaving my poor sleepy fool of a husband wondering what that envelope on his pillow was. I'm making it sound much more dramatic than it actually was, which is strange because I never used to have a penchant for dramatics. Or a penchant for words like "penchant," for that matter.

But ever since the business with the rabbits, and possibly even before that, things with Garv had been uncomfortable and weird. Then we'd suffered a couple of what we'd chosen to call "setbacks." But instead of making our marriage stronger -- as always seemed to happen to the other luckier setback souls who popped up in my mother's women's magazines -- our particular brand of setbacks performed exactly as advertised. They set us back. They wedged themselves between myself and Garv and alienated us from each other. Though he never said anything, I knew Garv blamed me.

And that was okay, because I blamed me too.

His name is actually Paul Garvan, but when I first got to know him we were both teenagers and nobody called anybody by their proper names. "Micko" and "Macker" and "Toolser" and "You big shithead" were some of the things our peers wereknown as. He was Garv, it's all I've ever known him as, and I only call him Paul when I'm extremely pissed off at him. Likewise, my name is Margaret but he calls me Maggie except when I borrow his car and scrape the side against the pillar in the multistory parking garage. (Something that occurs more regularly than you might think.)

I was twenty-four and he was twenty-five when we got married. He'd been my first boyfriend, as my poor mother never tires of telling people. She reckons it demonstrates what a nice girl I was, who never did any of that nasty sleeping-around business. (The only one of her five daughters who didn't, who could blame her for parading my suspected virtue?) But what she conveniently omits to mention when she's making her proud boast is that Garv might have been my first boyfriend but he wasn't my only one.


We'd been married for nine years and it would be hard to say exactly when I'd started to fantasize about it ending. Not, let me tell you, because I wanted it to be over. But because I thought that if I imagined the worst possible scenario, it would somehow be insurance against its actually happening. However, instead of insuring against it, it conjured the whole bloody thing into existence. Which just goes to show.

The end came with surprising suddenness. One minute my marriage was a going concern -- even if I was doing strange stuff, like drinking my contact lenses -- the next minute it was entirely finito. Which caught me badly off guard, as I'd always thought there was a regulation period of crockery-throwing and name-calling before the white flag could be waved. But everything caved in without a single cross word being exchanged, and I simply wasn't prepared for it.

God knows, I should have been. A few nights previously, I'd woken in the darkness for a good worry. Something I often did, usually fretting about work and money. You know, the usual. Having too much of one and not enough of the other. But recently -- probably longer than recently, actually -- I'd been worrying about me and Garv instead. Would things ever get better? Were they better already and I just wasn't seeing it?

Most nights I didn't come to any conclusions and lapsed back into an unreassured sleep. But this time I was afflicted with sudden, unwelcome X-ray vision. I could see straight through the padding of the daily routine, the private language and the shared past, right into the heart of me and Gary, into all that had happened over the last while. Everything was stripped away and I had a horrible, too-clear thought: We're in big trouble here.

It literally made me cold. All the little hairs on my skin lifted and a chill settled somewhere between my ribs. Terrified, I tried to cheer myself up by having a little fret about the amount of work I'd have to do the following day, but no dice. So then I reminded myself that my parents were getting older and that I'd be the one who'd have to take care of them, and tried to scare myself with that instead.

After a while I went back to sleep, scratched my right arm raw, ground my teeth with gusto, awoke to the familiar sensation of a mouth coated with bits of grit, and carried on as usual.

I was to remember that We're in big trouble here when it transpired that we actually were.

On the evening in question, we were supposed to be going out for dinner with Elaine and Liam, friends of Garvs. And who knows, if Liam's new flat-screen television hadn't fallen off the wall and onto his foot, breaking his big toe in the process, so that I'd gone out instead of going home, maybe Garv and I would never have split up?

The irony is, I was praying that Elaine and Liam would cancel. The chances were good -- the last three times we were supposed to meet, it hadn't happened. The first time...

Angels. Copyright © by Marian Keyes. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

Marian Keyes is the author of ten bestselling novels and two essay collections. She lives in Ireland with her husband and their two imaginary dogs.

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Angels 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 49 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. Going through a divorce, I know all about the Feelings Roller-Coaster O' Fun. Keyes really hit each of the emotions associated this insane time -- I too have thought about everything from denouncing men forever to fleeing to another country to wearing nothing but shirts that say 'Boys suck.' The only thing I didn't really appreciate was the happily-ever-after ending. It just seemed too contrived and convenient. Maybe I'm bitter. Hell, I probably am. But it still seemed a bit out of place and took away some of Irish's girl power. The whole thing was redeemed by the constant 'best friends forever' theme, though.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ms. Keyes always surprises with her characters. A delightful read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was pleasantly surprised by this book and loved it do much, finished it in 2 days.... Im looking forward to reading more books by this author!,
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Teekay More than 1 year ago
I first read "Watermelon" and loved it so I assumed "Angel" would probably be just as good. Marian Keyes does do a good job with both women's narrations but I found "Angel" to be... quite dry. Marian Keyes does a great job with the whole present & past transitions like in all her Walsh Sisters' books but Margaret's present story just doesn't relate to the conflict of the novel. I thought that her rebellion did not relate to her realization at the end. It was an okay read, I won't say it was horrible, but I was definitely disappointed.
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