Angels: A Novel

( 49 )

Overview

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 ...

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Angels

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Overview

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.

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Editorial Reviews

Booklist
“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
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060512149
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 4/27/2004
  • Series: Harper Perennial
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 448
  • Sales rank: 466,472
  • Product dimensions: 5.31 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 1.01 (d)

Meet the Author

Marian Keyes

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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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.

However.

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.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 49 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(20)

4 Star

(13)

3 Star

(8)

2 Star

(6)

1 Star

(2)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 49 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 11, 2003

    another goodie, but not too great ending

    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.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 20, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Disappointing

    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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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 16, 2007

    Wonderful!

    I love it! Although, Keyes could save her time if she write it shorter. It was a little longer. In the 4 or 5 chapters was a little boring. It gets better. I love the snail part. She has a great imgination.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 7, 2007

    Could've been shorter

    The story is good, but the writer has this way of playing with words. She describes things or lives of people not connected with the story in a very long way. The book could've reduced in half if only she sticked with the flow of her story.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 22, 2007

    Very good!

    I am not one who reads many books, but I ended up reading this one, pretty quickly too because I didn't want to put it down, & I loved it! It never gets boring & keeps you interested the whole time. I definitely recommend it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 12, 2006

    Enjoyable

    I loved Sushi for Beginners, so I had to read more Marian Keyes books. Angels was just as good. Interesting plot, great characters. Easy read! Great for the summer or vacations!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 21, 2005

    So-So

    This book was okay. It had all the stereotypes that you imagine L.A. has. Many things happened in this book that made it interesting. I just found that I didn't connect with any of the characters because you never really learned much about them. Probably wouldn't recommend to any of my friends.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 10, 2005

    Hilarious!

    This was my first Keyes book and I loved it. I laughed out loud several times during this book because the situations are very funny, but the Irish slang is what really ties it all together. This is the book to read if you feel like your soul needs a makeover.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 21, 2005

    I'm hooked

    This is the first book that I've read from Marian Keyes. I was lucky to have picked up this book. The characters were so real and made me laugh. And from once living in LA I can relate to the scenery and how it effects the characters personality. Keyes is a great author and shouldn't stop writing! I'm in the middle of Other Side of the Story... and I can honestly say that Keyes is may favorite author along with J.K. Rowling. I can't wait 'til I finish that book and buy the next.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 6, 2004

    Disappointing

    For the first part of the book, I liked the honest portrayal of a marriage heading toward divorce--I've been there. The characters are likeable and there are some funny bits. But the plot heads toward a completely predicatable and utterly dishonest ending. I saw it coming, but I didn't believe the writer would carry through with it. I felt betrayed. Won't read another by her, even from the library.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 17, 2004

    Excellent book!

    I have read several books by Marian Keyes and they have all been wonderful. She is a great author and really keeps me captivated.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 7, 2003

    A Really Good Book

    This is the 2nd book that I have read by Marian Keyes, and I think it was even better. I can't wait to go check out her other books.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 25, 2003

    TERRIFIC READ

    This is the kind of book you find hard to put down, so you read it all in a few days. I loved the ending and totally enjoyed following maggies ups and downs. Keyes writing is so fun to read, she is hilarious and poigniant, READ IT!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 7, 2003

    Missing Something

    This was not a fun book to read. About three or four chapters where interesting/funny, but it was difficult to get into - very draggy at the beginning, and the end was fairly easy to figure out. It was the first I've read from this author. Although I hear she has better, I'm not planning on rushing to buy one.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 6, 2003

    Humorously Entertaining

    I thought this book was great. It was the first one I read by this author and I'm really glad I picked it up. I loved the tone of the writing and the wonderful sense of humor throughout.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 25, 2003

    Separation Reality Bites

    I am a busy mom with little time for books. Each one needs to count. This book was a gem, I was feeling everything that Maggie was feeling. For those of you that have been in a thick fog after a breakup, or were haunted by choices made in your younger more naive days, this book is for you.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 30, 2003

    Absolutely Great!

    I LOVED this book! It was so full of wit and humor along with the trials of life! Her writing is great, she is able to write like she is talking. I felt the whole time like I was in the book! Great read!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 24, 2003

    Not the best, but still good!

    I love Marian Keys, but I didn't think Angels was her best. It was funny in parts, but by the end of the book, I had forgotten who some of the secondary characters were. Still a good beach read!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 2, 2003

    a little slow

    this was my first Keyes novel, and i'm not sure i'll read another. Nothing too exciting and the sexual experiments were overly played. Quite a turn around for a goody goody!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 21, 2003

    Great Read

    This is the first book I have read by this author, but will not be my last. It was a book that I could get engrossed in and not quit reading. The storyline was believable to me and I could relate to Maggies behavior in many ways. A great story about friends, family and of course love!

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