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The Gate of Angels
Cover of The Gate of Angels
The Gate of Angels
A Novel

It is 1912, and at Cambridge University the modern age is knocking at the gate. In lecture halls and laboratories, the model of a universe governed by the mind of God is at last giving way to something wholly rational, a universe governed by the laws of physics. To junior fellow Fred Fairly, this comes as a great comfort. Science, he is certain, will soon explain everything. Mystery will be routed by reason, and the demands of the soul will be seen for what they are, a distraction and an illusion.

Into Fred's orderly life comes Daisy, with a bang—literally. One moment the two are perfect strangers; the next, they are casualties of a freakish accident, occupants of the same warm bed. Fred has never been so close to a woman before, one so pretty, so plainspoken, and yet so mysterious. Is she a manifestation of chaos, or a sign of another kind of order?

It is 1912, and at Cambridge University the modern age is knocking at the gate. In lecture halls and laboratories, the model of a universe governed by the mind of God is at last giving way to something wholly rational, a universe governed by the laws of physics. To junior fellow Fred Fairly, this comes as a great comfort. Science, he is certain, will soon explain everything. Mystery will be routed by reason, and the demands of the soul will be seen for what they are, a distraction and an illusion.

Into Fred's orderly life comes Daisy, with a bang—literally. One moment the two are perfect strangers; the next, they are casualties of a freakish accident, occupants of the same warm bed. Fred has never been so close to a woman before, one so pretty, so plainspoken, and yet so mysterious. Is she a manifestation of chaos, or a sign of another kind of order?

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About the Author-
  • Penelope Fitzgerald (1916–2000) was an English novelist, poet, essayist, and biographer who embarked on her literary career at the age of fifty-eight and later earned much popular and critical acclaim, winning a Booker Prize and a National Book Critics Circle Award.

Reviews-
  • AudioFile Magazine No matter how ordered life becomes, sometimes serendipity happens. It's 1912 in London and Cambridge. Daisy is a young woman short on options, and Fred's position at Angels College depends on giving up any claim to a personal life. When they are literally thrown together in a collision of bicycle and farm cart, routine and convention simply have to bend a bit. Nadia May winks her way through this presentation with true storyteller's aplomb. She gets listeners past the myriad details of time and place by cheery good will. Her warmth and perkiness affirm a cute story, and her bubbly pacing ensures that, like the best cute things, it's brief. D.J. (c) AudioFile 2000, Portland, Maine
  • Publisher's Weekly

    May 3, 1993
    Set in the mannered quaintness of pre-WW I England, Fitzgerald's gently comedic novel was shortlisted for the 1990 Booker prize.

  • Publisher's Weekly

    December 2, 1991
    English writer Fitzgerald ( The Beginning of Spring ; Innocence ) displays a grace and wit that put her on equal footing with such better-known peers as Muriel Spark. Her own novel, shortlisted for the 1990 Booker prize, is set in the mannered quaintness of pre-WW I Cambridge, yet it goes far beyond the usual Wodehousean scenario of brittle dialogue and eccentric dons in flapping robes. The eccentric dons are by no means absent, but Fitzgerald's writing has a depth, resonance and delicacy that create a sense of genuine comedy rather than of farce. Fred Fairly, a junior fellow at St. Angelicus College, wakes from a bicycle accident to discover that, owing to the misjudgment of a good Samaritan, he has been put in a sickroom bed next to the young woman with whom he has collided. Having made the acquaintance of mysterious Daisy Saunders in this unlikely way, Fairly promptly falls in love with her, though as a St. Angelicus fellow he has pledged himself to a life of celibacy. One can count on Fitzgerald to resolve his dilemma in an unexpected fashion, and she is true to form as the novel swerves toward its satisfying conclusion.

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The Gate of Angels
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