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51 of 53 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great book from one of today's best authors
"Air and Angels" is yet another powerful Susan Hill novel. In simple terms it is about the wishes, dreams and dreads of a variety of somewhat upper class English folk and how their emotions clash against the constraining conventions of the well ordered society for which they are meant to be standard bearers. The action centres on Thomas Cavendish who is a...
Published on 1 Feb. 2000

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3.0 out of 5 stars Spoilt by inappropriate punctuation - where was the copy-editor?
Potentially it's a beautiful, involving book, delicately written and full of atmosphere; but it was spoilt for me by my increasing irritation at the author's use - or too often misuse - of punctuation. Her trick of stringing together a whole paragraph of descriptive phrases separated only by commas can often work well, like brush-stroke after brush-stroke on a canvas, but...
Published 2 months ago by JMVB


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51 of 53 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great book from one of today's best authors, 1 Feb. 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Air And Angels (Paperback)
"Air and Angels" is yet another powerful Susan Hill novel. In simple terms it is about the wishes, dreams and dreads of a variety of somewhat upper class English folk and how their emotions clash against the constraining conventions of the well ordered society for which they are meant to be standard bearers. The action centres on Thomas Cavendish who is a Cambridge University tutor living with his sister. His life is quite simple and he wants for nothing, his passions being the birds that he keeps and the teaching he does. However his quiet life is shattered when he falls in love with a young teenager named Kitty who comes over from India in order to be educated in her home country.
This is only the main plot line however, and the book is crammed with a huge number of well defined characters, all somehow troubled and anxious of how things will work out for them. Susan Hill is very skilled in describing them and their thoughts in a moving way that is also quite old fashioned, befitting the period in which the book is set (which is never accurately defined).
All in all the book is very strong and the prose - as always in her books - is very elegant. You get the impression that Susan Hill could have drafted the Poll Tax Act and it would have been just about the most beautiful thing anyone had ever read.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful but also somehow frustrating, 9 Feb. 2012
By 
ladyguinevere (Aberdeen, Scotland) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Air And Angels (Paperback)
Susan Hill's writing is beautiful, subtle and poetic, although the run-on sentences and sometimes dodgy use of commas sometimes bugged me. The way this story is told is unconventional in that it flits back and forth between a variety of characters - some major, some minor - across time and locations. I found this both interesting and frustrating. I think that part could maybe have been handled slightly better, as she would launch into paragraphs referring only to he or she, when she had been talking about someone completely different in the last sentence, which was a bit dizzying. But it didn't require an inordinate amount of brainpower to catch up and figure out where and when and with whom you were supposed to be following along, so that can be forgiven, and it was an effective technique of giving little vignettes into people's lives and I'm not sure it could have been told as effectively in some more conventional way.

Essentially the book is about the moment in time when life changes irrevocably for two intertwined groups of people in Victorian England and India. I don't think I'm giving anything away when I say it is essentially an ill-fated love story, as this is revealed straightaway at the beginning of the book. The book builds slowly to an inevitable climax and the time spent on building up the main characters' personalities and motives seems at first perhaps a little long, but in the end I think it was well-paced, for it makes the final tragedy much more heart-felt, and I think the sadness of this book will linger with me for quite some time because I do feel for the characters now. On the other hand, some characters are introduced only in a tangential way that I felt could have been fleshed out more in a longer book. I felt that much was left unanswered at the end - however, I can't decide if this is perfect or annoying.

All in all though, I think this is a subtle and heartbreaking masterpiece of a book, the best I've read by Susan Hill so far (I should probably say that I was somewhat underwhelmed by the Woman in Black).
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful book, 11 July 2007
This review is from: Air and Angels (Paperback)
A simply beautiful book. The writing is impeccable, drawing (in true Susan Hill style) a picture of England (in this case mostly Cambridge and the Fens) and it's seasons. But it is all the characters, explored in depth and sensitivity, which make this book so profound. The impact of the dry old professor falling in love with a young girl and the effect it has on him, had me in tears at the end. I recommend this book as it is truly gifted writing.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Air and Angels, 31 Dec. 2012
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This review is from: Air And Angels (Paperback)
A beautiful book that left me troubled because it touched so many emotions that I have experienced yet could never express as eloquently as Susan Hill. Her descriptions of the Cambridgeshire countryside in all its seasons was stunning. LN
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful, evocative novel of times gone by, 21 Dec. 2011
By 
Keen Reader "lhendry4" (Auckland, New Zealand) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Air And Angels (Paperback)
This is a lovely book, beautifully written, as are all of Susan Hill's books that I have read so far. I have read several of her "gothic ghost" stories, as well as a few of her other novels. This novel, set in England and India in a time of ladies, tea parties, parasols and young men travelling to India to make their fortunes, is a wonderful story of lives that intertwine, pass by, touch briefly and glide onwards. People meet and part, life is lived, loves are felt and lost, and through it all their lives are changed.

The central characters seem peripheral to the action for much of the book, their lives being felt and experienced by others around them. When they come "alive", if I can put it like that, they are transformed - experiencing, living, `electric', `real' for the first time. But can it last? And should it even be so?

This is a beautiful, haunting, evocative novel of another time, other places, a way of life that we can never know, but which we can enjoy the retelling of in this wonderful novel. Highly recommended.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars In praise of Susan Hill, 19 Oct. 2010
This review is from: Air and Angels (Hardcover)
The book was purchased as second hand and in good condition. I just can't get enough of Susan Hill's books, she has a real understanding of human relationships which leave you thinking long after the last page. This book is no exception.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A little gem, 4 Feb. 2013
By 
Sylvia Mikkelsen (Hoejbjerg, Denmark) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Air And Angels (Paperback)
I had first read it on my Kindle, but then decided that this gem should be in my 'real books' library! It could not just remain 'twixt air and angels' (John Donne), that is, in ethereal, digital form - I needed it 'in the flesh', so to speak.

That is absolutely Susan Hill at her best, thus reminding us of why the British Novel of yore was pure poetry to its world-wide readers. I need not say more - if you love the classical British novel, just read Air and Angels.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Spoilt by inappropriate punctuation - where was the copy-editor?, 18 Feb. 2015
This review is from: Air And Angels (Paperback)
Potentially it's a beautiful, involving book, delicately written and full of atmosphere; but it was spoilt for me by my increasing irritation at the author's use - or too often misuse - of punctuation. Her trick of stringing together a whole paragraph of descriptive phrases separated only by commas can often work well, like brush-stroke after brush-stroke on a canvas, but when over-used it becomes terribly monotonous and creates a "dying fall" as there's no underlying structure - like prose read aloud badly, where every sentence ends with a downward inflection. In other places commas are superfluous or just plain wrong, jolting the reader to a halt as he/she has to decide where the connections and breaks actually lie. I assume the editorial team were not allowed to touch Susan Hill's punctuation - but what a pity! There's so much that's appealing in the book, but for anyone with an eye for good grammar the many descriptive passages are a jerky and frustrating read.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Weak and affected., 2 Nov. 2013
This review is from: Air And Angels (Paperback)
I was disappointed with this book. I found the grammar poor with sentences far too long. There were far too many 'ands' and 'buts' including starting sentences with these. I thought the character development poor with too much flouncing around and melodrama. Given that the settings had such potential ie India, Norfolk, Oxford , there were no descriptions which brought the places to life. The jumping about of the plot felt random and prevented the novel from flowing. Also I was very irritated by the constant use of questions. Eg 'who am I?' 'What does it mean?' even the ending is a question which means the author either couldn't think of an ending for the character or is planning a sequel. No!!!! I scan read the last quarter of the book. I am really starting to despair of 'best sellers' and am now avoiding any novel which advertises itself as such. There must be so many unpublished talented writers out there! It's all about marketing I'm afraid.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not my 'cup of tea', 14 Mar. 2013
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This review is from: Air And Angels (Kindle Edition)
I am afraid that iIgot bored with this book about half way through and discarded it. I found it disjointed and confusing but I am sure that is my deficit and not that of the book.
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Air And Angels
Air And Angels by Susan Hill (Paperback - 2 Sept. 1999)
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