Angels of Destruction

Angels of Destruction

3.7 8
by Keith Donohue
     
 

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"A magical tale of love and redemption that is as wonderfully written as it is captivating . . . Angels earns its wings."
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Margaret Quinn lives alone, quietly mourning the disappearance of her only child, who fled ten years earlier to join a radical student group known as the Angels of Destruction.

On a cold

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Overview

"A magical tale of love and redemption that is as wonderfully written as it is captivating . . . Angels earns its wings."
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Margaret Quinn lives alone, quietly mourning the disappearance of her only child, who fled ten years earlier to join a radical student group known as the Angels of Destruction.

On a cold winter’s night, a nine-year-old girl arrives on Margaret’s doorstep, claiming to be an orphan with no place to go. This child beguiles Margaret, and together they hatch a plan to pass her off as her newly found granddaughter, Norah Quinn.

Their conspiracy is made vulnerable by Norah’s magical revelations to the children of the town, and by a lone figure shadowing the girl, who threatens to reveal the child’s true identity and purpose. Who are these strangers really? And what is their connection to the past, the Angels, and Margaret’s long-missing daughter?

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Praise for ANGELS OF DESTRUCTION

“Norah’s unexplained origins form the enigmatic core of this story . . . the novel movingly illustrates the quest for connection hardwired into every human heart.”
Publishers Weekly

“[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.”
Library Journal

“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.”
Booklist

“[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 . . .”
BookPage

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.”
Boston Globe

“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.”
Washington Post

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.”
Chicago Sun-Times

“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.”
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

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.”
USA Today

“A wonderful, fantasy-laden debut . . . so spare and unsentimental that it’s impossible not to be moved.”
Newsweek

“Utterly absorbing . . . a luminous and thrilling novel about our humanity.”
Washington Post

“The book’s emotional impact is as fierce as the imagination behind it. The result is magical.”
People

“An ingenious, spirited allegory for adolescent angst, aging, the purpose of art.”
Entertainment Weekly

“Unusual and engaging . . . puts flesh to the bones of old fears.”
Miami Sun-Herald

Elizabeth Hand
In its depiction of a modern world where the inexplicable coexists with the commonplace, Angels of Destruction evokes many other works: Tony Kushner's "Angels in America"; films like Wim Wenders's "Wings of Desire" and Nancy Savoca's "Household Saints"; John Crowley's "Aegypt" tetralogy; Rilke's Duino ElegiesAngels 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.
—The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly

Tweaking some thematic elements of his previous novel, The Stolen Child, Donohoe now tells the story of Norah, a nine-year-old who appears on the doorstep of Margaret Quinn, a widow living a solitary existence in a small Pennsylvania town in 1985. Margaret eagerly takes in Norah to make up for the loss of her own daughter, Erica, who disappeared 10 years earlier after running away to join the Angels of Destruction, a West Coast revolutionary group. Margaret passes off Norah as her granddaughter and enrolls her in school, where Norah becomes friendly with a boy who's been abandoned by his father. Complications ensue when Margaret's sister arrives and has to be convinced that Norah is Erica's daughter. Sandwiched between the story of Margaret and Norah's unusual relationship is the flashback narrative of teenage Erica's road adventures with her boyfriend on their way to join the Angels of Destruction. Norah's unexplained origins form the enigmatic core of this story, and though she comes across as more of a novelistic conceit than a flesh and blood character, the novel movingly illustrates the quest for connection hardwired into every human heart. (Mar.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Library Journal

After his best-selling debut, The Stolen Child, Donohue has written a second novel about an uncanny child. This time, a mysterious girl named Norah shows up at a doorstep of a lonely old woman in the middle of winter. She takes the girl in, telling the neighborhood that Norah is her granddaughter, the child of the daughter who went missing ten years before. Norah brings happiness to many of the people she meets but disturbs others with her assertion that she is an angel sent to bring a message of destruction. What happened to the missing daughter becomes clear eventually, but other mysteries remain unsolved in this 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. Recommended for libraries with collections of literary and fantastical fiction. [See Prepub Alert, LJ11/15/08.]
—Jenne Bergstrom

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780307450265
Publisher:
Crown/Archetype
Publication date:
10/13/2009
Pages:
368
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.90(d)

Meet the Author

KEITH DONOHUE’s first novel, The Stolen Child, was a New York Times bestseller. For many years a ghostwriter, he now works at a federal governmental agency in Washington, D.C. He has published short stories and literary criticism, most recently an introduction to the collected works of Flann O’Brien. Donohue holds a Ph.D. in English from the Catholic University of America.

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Angels of Destruction 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Rupert_My_Love More than 1 year ago
"Angels of Destruction," in its entirety, maintains this slightly undeveloped aura about it; there are gaps in the plot that are not revisited nor concluded by the end, and what are assumed to be key plot elements (for example the cult 'Angels of Destruction' itself) are, in fact, secondary and unimportant. So why mention them at all? And why title the novel after an element mentioned only in passing? Although the ambiguousness of the little girl is blatantly intentional, her story is somehow lacking and her departure, even more so, is rushed and anticlimactic; in fact, that word sums up the entire ending as well.... Either way, Keith Donohue is an accomplished and detailed writer who pays special homage to the landscape of his novels. While "Stolen Child" remains the better of his two novels, "Angels of Destruction" is worth a go.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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harstan More than 1 year ago
In 1985 in wintry Pennsylvania nine year old Norah knocks on the door of lonely widow Margaret Quinn. The older woman lets the frozen waif inside, but is surprised to learn the child insists she does not have parents and has always been on her own. Norah explains that she needed shelter from the cold night and saw the light in Margaret¿s home. Margaret excitedly allows Norah to stay; feeling redemption as her own daughter Erica as a teen ran away a decade ago to the West Coast with her boyfriend to join the radical Angels of Destruction.

Margaret and Norah agree that Norah will masquerade her as her granddaughter. Norah enters the school and becomes friends with a student Sean whose dad abandoned him. When Norah begins to insist she is an angel with a destructive message, some fear her while others revel in her seemingly magical happiness. However, one person in the shadows has followed her from before and struggles with what to do about her.

Obviously the bond between Margaret and Norah is the center of the tale as they even convince the older woman¿s skeptical sister that the child is her grand-niece. Using flashbacks, readers learn what happened to Erica on the road west. However, the key to the story line that keeps reader¿s attention is who Norah truly is and what is her mission in Pennsylvania.

Harriet Klausner