Men and Angels

Overview

Anne Foster's husband is in France. She has stayed behind in their small college town with her two young children — whom she loves with an intensity that awes her — to finish writing the catalogue for a major exhibition of the work of American Impressionist painter Caroline Watson. As she delves into Caroline's life, Anne sees a side of "mother love" she'd never fathomed. Meanwhile, Anne's live-in babysitter, Laura Post, is obsessed with a different kind of love. She sees herself as one of God's chosen and ...
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Men and Angels: A Novel

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Overview

Anne Foster's husband is in France. She has stayed behind in their small college town with her two young children — whom she loves with an intensity that awes her — to finish writing the catalogue for a major exhibition of the work of American Impressionist painter Caroline Watson. As she delves into Caroline's life, Anne sees a side of "mother love" she'd never fathomed. Meanwhile, Anne's live-in babysitter, Laura Post, is obsessed with a different kind of love. She sees herself as one of God's chosen and believes she has been sent to "save" Anne and her children, whether they want it or not . . .
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Editorial Reviews

Margaret Drabble
This is a deliberately domestic, at times claustrophobic novel, with the rewiring of the house by an attractive electrician and a school Christmas dance recital presented as major events....Miss Gordon's rich, informal, imagery-packed prose beautifully reveals the poetry of domesticity, and her language dramatizes the small inner movements of the maternal heart....Miss Gordon is reaching for a sense of wholeness, for the possibility of inclusion rather than exclusion, for a way of connecting the different passages of existence, and her book asks questions rather than provides answers. It disturbs, rather than reassures, for it demonstrates that family life itself, that safest, most traditional, most approved of female choices, is not a sanctuary: it is, perpetually, a dangerous place. -- New York Times
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Gordon introduces the reader to women who form an ``enabling chain'': Caroline imparts strength to her daughter-in-law Jane, who befriends Anne, who cheers up teenage babysitter Laura. But when Laura becomes ``born again'' and tries to ``save'' Anne, a successful woman who nonetheless has a streak of self-loathing, disaster looms. Although Anne's self-pity wearies, as a whole the book succeeds ``on the strength of Gordon's plunging insights into the nature of mother love, family relationships, ambition and responsibility,'' PW observed. (April)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780345329257
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 3/12/1986
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: REISSUE
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 416
  • Product dimensions: 4.21 (w) x 6.85 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Mary Gordon
Mary Gordon
The McIntosh Professor of English at Bamard College, Mary Gordon is the author of several acclaimed novels that deal with the conflicts facing modern women, including Spending and Pearl, as well as a stirring memoir about her father, The Shadow Man.

Biography

Mary Gordon is the author of the novels The Love of My Youth, Spending, The Company of Women, and The Rest of Life, as well as the memoir The Shadow Man. She has received a Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Writer's Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and the 1997 O. Henry Award for best short story. She teaches at Barnard College and lives in New York City.

Author biography courtesy of Random House, Inc.

Good To Know

Some interesting outtakes from our interview with Gordon:

"I don't have any great first job tales: I‘ve never worked on a tramp steamer or in a coal mine or anything like that. I think the inspiration for my writing came largely from my father and the joy that life in books represented to me."

"I love dancing; I adore salsa dancing and wish I could be in a Broadway chorus."

"I could not write without my dog, Rhoda, a Lab-chow mix."

"I would trade any writerly success if it would mean my children would be happy."

"I hate George Bush, John Ashcroft, Rumsfeld, and Cheney. I hate bullies. I hate people who say, ‘It's so fun,' and say, 'literally,' when they mean, ‘figuratively.' "

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    1. Also Known As:
      Mary Gilmour
    2. Hometown:
      New York, New York
    1. Date of Birth:
      December 8, 1949
    2. Place of Birth:
      New York, New York
    1. Education:
      A.B., Barnard College, 1971; M.A., Syracuse University, 1973

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