Falling Angels Paperback – 14 Aug 2014
|New from||Used from|
- Choose from over 13,000 locations across the UK
- Prime members get unlimited deliveries at no additional cost
- Find your preferred location and add it to your address book
- Dispatch to this address when you check out
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
In Falling Angels, Tracy Chevalier has combined a moving elegy to the lost innocence of the 21st century's grandmothers and great-grandmothers with a reminder of the strength and modernity of their aspirations and achievements. Maude and Livy are aged six in 1901, when Queen Victoria has just died and the whole country is in mourning. In 1910 they are almost young women who have experienced their own personal losses and belong to a generation who are no longer prepared to wear black for months to mark the death of Edward VII. Their families, the Colemans and the Waterhouses ("no relation to the painter"), meet in a graveyard beside their family graves. One has a large marble angel erected above it, the other an urn (an allusion more to the morbidity of a Victorian columbarium than the eternity of Keats' pre-Victorian "unravish'd bride of quietness"). Their choices of a monument to death seem to reflect their differing attitudes to life, but Chevalier makes clear that these two families are forever linked in their fates and aspirations.
The story moves swiftly, switching to multiple narratives: young but quickly maturing Maude and Livy; the adult Colemans and Waterhouses; their servants; and Simon the gravedigger boy. Chevalier has chosen carefully who speaks when, and who, more importantly, keeps silent. Livy's little sister Ivy May is one of the most beguiling figures of the work, but is given only two sentences of her own (and those two bring a lump to the throat). Mrs Coleman's experiences with the campaign for women's suffrage are marginalised through silence; Maude and Livy tell instead of their reaction to the women's antics. And while Falling Angels may be a story of women, despite, or perhaps because of their exclusion from contemporary politics, Simon's observations are the most honest and revealing.
Chevalier herself writes after the story's end that "the Acknowledgements is the only section of a novel that reveals an author's "normal" voice. Every character uses their "normal" voice in this novel, and Chevalier's own voice excels in ensuring that each one is unique (for example, everything is "delicious" for Livy), so that, like Mr Coleman mourning his daughter growing up, you will "miss her when she goes". --Olivia Dickinson --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
‘Sex and death meet again in Tracy Chevalier's marvellous evocation of Edwardian England’ Daily Mail
‘Cleverly atmospheric’ Sunday Telegraph
‘The author's grip on the reader is as powerful as in her first novel. It is almost impossible to break off reading this driving narrative’ Independent
‘A master stylist in the making’ Boston Globe
‘Writing about the past ― especially this much written-about period ― has its pitfalls, but Chevalier has triumphantly avoided them. The result is a novel that shows both the strangeness of the world as it was and its closeness to our own time’ The TimesSee all Product description
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
Top customer reviews
The book is divided into very short chapters, each narrated by a different character. This takes a while to get into, but you get used to it, and it moves the plot along fairly well.
I didn't find the portrayal of the two girls as 5-year olds convincing in any way, but as they grow older, those characters do become more believable. There are some interesting contrasts drawn between the lives of the rich and the poor in those days, for example when Kitty Coleman simply pays her servants to sew the suffragette banners she has promised to make. I found the suffragette part a bit tedious, especially the long drawn out description of the march.
Definitely a good book to keep you entertained for a couple of cold winter days!
To set a novel primarily in a graveyard sounds morbid and uninspiring, but instead the graveyard becomes an almost comical space, with many hilarious discussions about the superiority of either urns or angels for a tomb. I have never been especially interested in history of this period, but the novel brings it alive, enabling the reader to almost experience the smell, the taste, the excitement of events such as the suffragette's march.
To compare 'Falling Angels' to 'Girl with a Pearl Earring' would be a mistake, as each novel is entirely different in terms of everything from perspective to subject matter. Instead, Chevalier is revealed as a writer of outstanding talent, able to evoke what appears to be a true representation of two entirely separate cultures in two fitting yet wildly different ways.
Would you like to see more reviews about this item?
Most recent customer reviews