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The Angelic Avengers (Penguin Modern Classics) [Paperback]

Isak Dinesen
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
RRP: £12.99
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Book Description

29 Nov 2001 Penguin Modern Classics
Lucan has been orphaned and Zosine has been deserted, and London is a hostile place for two young girls without a home. Bound together by poverty, grief and their shared years at school, they set out to make a future for themselves in new surroundings. They are adopted by the austere, puritanical Reverend Pennhallow and his wife, and in their large, gloomy house they become immersed in study. But, after a chain of disturbing events, it does not take long before they realize that the cleric and his wife are not all they seem to be ...

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; New Ed edition (29 Nov 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141186437
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141186436
  • Product Dimensions: 1.8 x 15.4 x 21.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 812,023 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description

About the Author

ISAK DINESEN was the pen-name of Karen Blixen, who was born in Rungsted, Denmark in 1885. After studying art at Copenhagen, Paris and Rome, she married her cousin, Baron Bror Blixen-Finecke, in 1914. Together they went to Kenya to manage a coffee plantation. After their divorce in 1921, she continued to run the plantation until a collapse in the coffee market forced her back to Denmark in 1931.

Although she had written occasional contributions to Danish periodicals since 1905 (under the nom de plume of Osceola), her real début took place in 1934 with the publication of Seven Gothic Tales, written in English under her pen-name. Out of Africa (1937) is an autobiographical account of the years she spent in Kenya. Most of her subsequent books were published in English and Danish simultaneously, including Winter's Tales (1942) and The Angelic Avengers (1946), under the name of Pierre Andrézol. Among her other collections of stories are Last Tales (1957), Anecdotes of Destiny (1958), Shadows on the Grass (1960) and Ehrengard (1963). All of these books are published by Penguin.

Baroness Blixen died in Rungsted in 1962.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
A YOUNG girl, whose name was Lucan Bellenden, on a spring evening sat deep in thought by the window of a fine big English country house. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pure Beauty 8 Nov 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Karen Blixen's only novel has a unique feel, an atmosphere I have never encountered before in fiction. It has a purity of intent. It has colours all its own. It is a fantasy space whose influence upon me will never cease, because it cannot leave me, and my reflections upon it will continue until I re-read it in fifty or a hundred years time. Set in 19th centruy England and France, at the time when the great Victorian novelists were writing, its charm and its ominous emotions never cease to surpirse,
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2.0 out of 5 stars The Sappy Sisters 29 Nov 2013
Two young ladies find themselves down on their luck, and forced to rely on the charity of an aged minister and his wife in their house in France. Surrounded by creepy characters and horrendous exposition, they eventually decide something is amiss and they simply must do something about it - such as discuss it for a large number of pages, whilst hoping a big man will come along and save them. Eventually they are improbably saved by a big woman instead, although only faced with a protagonist who seems to have lost his mind. And of course, they both get happily married to eminently suitable gentlemen as that is what women must do. Feminism doesn't get a look in here, with our two passive heroines, sitting around darning socks and giggling / screaming hysterically, as the occasion demands it. How this ended up as a modern classic, I have no idea - a mood of suspense is created, albeit it with a number of diverions into deep boredom, but the plotting is so lazy, with passive (and I repeat the word for good reason) narrator and friend plucked from peril in a most unrealistic and pseudo-mystical manner. Try Shirley Jackson instead. I imagine this is the sort of work that forced Angela Carter to dig her typewriter out.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.6 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Victorian tale of adventure with a feminist edge 18 May 2003
By F. Orion Pozo - Published on
With a title that sounds like a modern day adventure comic, The Angelic Avengers is a Victorian tale of adventure with a feminist edge. Written in World War II Denmark by Karen Blixen (the Isak Dinesen of Out Of Africa), it is the story of two young ladies who have lost their possessions and families. One is the forward-thinking daughter of a scientist, and the other a pampered child of the aristocracy. They bond together to protect themselves against the evils of a society corrupted by men. Yet they find themselves in the clutches of the most evil man they can imagine. I feel that Blixen wrote this book as an amusement to carry her through the horror of world war. Yet the book has a substance greater than its title and plot suggest.
According to one web site:
"During WW II, when Denmark was occupied by the Nazis, Karen Blixen started to write her only full-length novel, the introspective GENGÆLDELSENS VEJE (The Angelic Avengers), which was published in 1944 under the pseudonym Pierre Andrézel. The horrors experienced by the young heroines in the novel were interpreted as an allegory of falling Nazism."
The novel is divided into three parts. In "Rose-Strewn Roads And Thorny Paths," we see the golden cage of the well-bred life and the perils faced by women without means. Part Two is called "The Canary Birds." Here the young women find themselves in a position where they are like birds in a cage, fed and cared for, but helpless to control their fate. The last section of the novel is called "The Buried Treasure." In the end, the young women confront their avenging natures and find their true treasure is their angelic ability to oppose evil with goodness and compassion.
The happy ending reveals the book as a parable with a clear message as to how humanity should act when faced with evil: feelings of vengeance must be overcome and replaced with compassionate love. Righteous anger will destroy not only evil in the other, but the goodness within. Another theme is how the aristocracy and the middle class differ in facing adversity. The two young women's strengths compliment each other through the book suggesting that the two classes must work together to build a just society.
It is a well-written and tightly scripted adventure that will keep you involved and enthralled. I highly recommend it.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Angelic Avengers 18 Mar 2011
By pamble - Published on
Even though this book has a flowery writing style - I found it very entertaining! Certainly way ahead of its time! To be surprised along the way when you read a passage is rare in any book. Maybe some of the charm comes because you don't suspect it to be shocking or unusual given the staid writing approach so prim and proper. I found this book in a decorator's staged library! I have to say it was quite a find.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars good entertainment 22 April 2013
By Ragnhild Munck, Author & Storyteller - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Very interesting and entertaining. It is unlike Karen Blixen's other stories. Maybe that is why she did not own up to it when it was first published. Interesting plot.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Great Story 5 May 2013
By ForceField - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
There's just something about Isak Dinesen. I always find her stories engrossing and imagery powerful. The Angelic Avengers did not let me down.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing book 18 Dec 2013
By Sooz122 - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
And very fun to get a library copy of this oldie for a great price. A fun way to shop!
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