The Gate of Angels

by Penelope Fitzgerald | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: 0002235277 Global Overview for this book
Registered by crazy-book-lady of Toronto, Ontario Canada on 5/22/2005
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This book is in the wild! This Book is Currently in the Wild!
2 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by crazy-book-lady from Toronto, Ontario Canada on Sunday, May 22, 2005
Short listed for the Booker. Picked this up at a University of Toronto used book sale, but I don't think I will get around to reading it.

There is a lovely inscription in the front of the book:

Happy Birthday dear friend.
With much love
Marc

Whenever I find a book with an inscription like this, I can't help wondering about the writer and the recipient. Are they still in contact with each other? Have they grown apart...split up...passed away? It seems to be such an intensely personal moment captured on the page, now to be read by curious strangers.

This book will soon be on its way to BookGroupMan in the UK. Enjoy!

Journal Entry 2 by crazy-book-lady from Toronto, Ontario Canada on Friday, June 03, 2005
Mailed a few days ago to BookGroupMan...

Journal Entry 3 by BookGroupMan from Criccieth, Wales United Kingdom on Monday, July 04, 2005
Thanks CBL, back home to East Anglia all the way from Toronto. From the opening paragraph, 'How could the wind be so strong, this far inland, that cyclists coming into the town in the late afternoon looked more like sailors in peril! This was on the way into Cambridge, up Mill Road pas the cemetery and the workhouse.'

I drive to work up Mill Road. I know I'm going to enjoy this, thanks for sharing :)

(14/09) Finished - review to follow

Journal Entry 4 by BookGroupMan from Criccieth, Wales United Kingdom on Wednesday, September 21, 2005
*slight spoiler*

What a brilliant novel, so much packed into less that 170 pages. It worked for me on lots of different levels, perfectly paced, evocative, intelligent and human. By ‘human’ I mean that Fitzgerald has not padded out a basically simple love story with broad sweeps of history or too much extraneous detail & clutter, like some contemporary authors do. And - another bug-bear of mine – she closes things off. Don’t you hate it when an author leaves major plot lines hanging; they’ve got to think of the poor reader a bit more, left high and dry, with lives left in the balance!

**I’ve already lent it out to a book group friend, so this review does not benefit from all the quotes and bits-and-bobs that I would like. So, from memory:

A Junior Fellow (Fred Fairly) of the fictional St. Angelicus college in Cambridge circa 1900’s, or a bit later, falls in love with the mysterious Daisy after they have a bicycle accident and wake up in bed together afterwards. The story is about boy finding girl, courting girl, falling out with girl :-( There’s a great twist at the end which I didn’t see coming, a bit like the final…erm…scene in A Prayer for Owen Meany, very life affirming. But this synopsis doesn’t tell you the half of it.

…there’s the Cambridge & Fenland landscape – familiar to me as I work at the Uni. Every day I walk along the route that Fairly & friend drag the unconscious Kelly, from Parker’s Piece to the Botanic Garden.

…and the history of the founder of the college, Pope Benedict and the mysterious ‘gate’ of the title.

…and the background story of the prevailing battle between the theoricians & physicists pushing the sub-atomic boundaries and the reactionary counter-argument of those who are only interested in ‘observables’. Fairly, in the latter camp has to talk at a debating society, ‘The Disobligers’, defending the existence of the soul. I forget his argument, but it wasn’t very convincing. I think the point is that he becomes the beneficiary of a chance encounter (fate?) and supernatural forces in the end. So even non-believers can benefit, which is nice :-)

…there’s even a ghost story cum whodunnit involving nuns and a buried bishop!

Journal Entry 5 by BookGroupMan from Criccieth, Wales United Kingdom on Thursday, October 13, 2005
I found some of them quotes, the BC book isn't home yet. So from the library :)

Fred’s so-called friend Holcombe speaking of the dangers of women and loss of bachelor status;

"Now if you were to marry...a wife has a legal right to be in the same house and even the same room as oneself! From the point of view of the temptations of the flesh that may be convenient enough, but what if she were to want to talk?"

Fred’s Father left alone while his wife and daughter get involved in the ‘frightening’ emancipation movement;

"Freddy, I’m told that there are left-overs in the larder. Have you any idea what to do with left-overs?"
(Fred) "You don’t have to do anything with them. They’re left over from whatever was done to them before."

And a couple of quotes about ‘observables’ and Fred’s field of Observable Experimental Physics;

"If you can’t depend on true evidence, scientists are no better than gossips"

"To base one’s calculation on unobservables – such as God, such as the soul, such as the atom, such as the elementary particle – was nothing more than a comforting weakness. I don’t deny that all human’s need comfort. But scientists should not indulge themselves on quite this scale."

And last but not least, Daisy pretending to view a house as a potential buyer;

(Fred) "Was it one of the differences between men and women, that women like to live on their imagination?"
"It’s all they can afford, most of them" said Daisy

RELEASE NOTES:

I like the 'potential bookcrosser' release location.

I had intended to keep this, but then I would like others to enjoy it. So here's to un-shelf-ishness, and spreading the word :)

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