Now available in paperback"To read Kelby's novel is, in its own words, to 'fall into a dream, a flying dream.' To paraphrase and summarize such fine spun fiction must inevitably be as inadequate as any attempt to retell your most amazing dream the morning after." New York Times Book Review Scented by chocolate and haunted by war, this compelling novel of dark miracles and angelic visitations offers up a distinctly imaginative new voice in fiction. Marie Claire is a young French Jew in a Nazi-occupied Belgian town, cared for by her grandmother, who cultivates flowers. A shattering of glass, and Marie Claire's village is in rubble. Her grandmother is dead, everyone is dead. She flees to the root cellar of her grandmother's house and waits. . . .
|Product dimensions:||5.00(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.40(d)|
|Age Range:||13 - 18 Years|
About the Author
N. M. Kelby is the winner of a Bush Artist Fellowship in Literature and the Heekin Group Foundation's James Fellowship for the Novel. Her poems and short stories have appeared in numerous journals, including Francis Ford Coppola's Zoetrope: All-Story Extra and the Mississippi Review. She divides her time between Sarasota, Florida, and Minnetonka, Minnesota.
Read an Excerpt
Before the Germans bombed Belgium in 1940, Tournai was a city that creaked under the weight of its own rich history. Conquered by the French, it was thought more beautiful than Paris. Conquered by the English, it was the favored city of King Henry the Eighth.
It was also a city of God.
One hundred bell towers, four hundred bells. So many churches, their spires teetering at odd angles, they eclipsed the narrow streets, streets filled with knots of nuns and priests moving about like so many bees.
God was Tournai's main industry. The banks, the universities, the cafes, the souvenir shops which sold the nearly authentic relics: they all thrived on God. Survived by creating a city devoted to devotion.
In Tournai, God, apparently, was as common as air.
The baker said he saw Him in a cherry tart. The milliner, in the eye of a peacock feather. The trash man said he saw Him tumbling down the alleyways in the white grease of the frietzaks, the abandoned paper cones, their twice-fried potatoes eaten long ago. These sightings of God were well documented in newspapers and radio broadcasts. They were proudly spoken of in the streets.
"Did you know that the barber saw the face of the Virgin on the floor of his shop yesterday?"
"No, but I heard the butcher found a small cross within the belly of a lamb."
Everywhere, everyone saw God. How could they not? In Tournai, seeing God was a matter of civic pride.
Then bombs came. Then soldiers. Then silence.
Now recruitment posters cover the church doors. Ersatz kommando der waffen! The Germans are asking for help. Support us! they say, and show the enemy in his "true light"a red devil, the Star of David around his neck. The devil laughs at the cross, crushes Belgium with his pitchfork.
Some of the priests, their churches in rubble, ask their congregations to consider the Germans' position. Did not the Jews betray our Savior? they ask.
Ersatz kommando der waffen!
Since the occupation began, it is said that God has not been seen in Tournai. It is believed that He quietly slipped away. Heartbroken, He eased himself out of the situation, unsure if He would ever return.
Excerpted from In the Company of Angels by N. M. KELBY. Copyright © 2001 by N. M. Kelby. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I read this book in a day, it is original and captivating. A different and inspiring approach to war-time writing.
Finished reading this book this afternoon. While I enjoy fantasy, I don't believe stories about the Holocaust should be romanticized or made to appear overly surreal. Is the author trying to say the Holocaust wasn't actually real?? Also a bit confusing to know who was really alive and who was dead appearing to be alive.
"In the Company of Angels" is set in a small town in France during WWII. The highly religious town is detroyed through bombings and occupancy by the Germans. The history of seeing divinity and/or religious visions were a regular occurrences, but it did not save this town or it's people. The central characters of Anne, whose mother was thought insane by her insistence that her daughter was to be taken by angels, the Mother superior and a young jewish child, Marie Claire, rescued from the rubble. What becomes of them is meant to be soul stirring...
Although one might find it hard to associate a `fairy tale¿ amidst world war two, this novel made it enticingly so with miracles & angels. This piece had succeeded in detaching it¿s readers from the terrifying possibility of death in a time of war, and inspiring courage, hope and a promise of love¿ Fantastically written!
I wasn't sure what to expect when I picked this book up. Some pop culture piece about angels? A serious 'Literary' work, the kind you ingest because it's good for you, like a bitter but beneficial herb? I thought the cover was quite lovely, but...I didn't expect what was inside to be so much more dynamic than its mere design. It's a wonderful book--one of the most gorgeously rendered books I've read lately. But it's also simple, concise, the language straightforward but full of pictures that bloom like the protagonist's startling black irises in the imagination. Yes, it IS about angels--but these are not goody-goody creatures who guide their human peers through trumped-up troubles and into the cheery but holy light. I don't want to give away what is written here, because the delight, the emotional impact, the beauty lies in watching the mystery unfold and probing it, thinking about it, teasing at it with your mind and heart--but I will say that these angels are a tough and tragic breed, and yet as sweet as the chocolate they crave. Read it; read it again. It's a small book, but there's so much in it.
In the Company of Angels is a light, frothy, book that combines fairytale with mystery. Instead of seeing 'dead people', like in The Sixth Sense, readers will see angels and wonder throughout the book if they are really there. It's a quick, but wonderful, read, which entices you to read it again quickly after you have read it through the first time.