Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Miss Garnet's Angel

Salley Vickers writes in a lyrical even style that at first fools the reader into thinking nothing is going on, but slowly the story takes over your mind. Miss Garnet is a retired British teacher, a life-long Communist, who suddenly loses her roommate of decades to death. Since they had planned on traveling when they retired, Miss Garnet (Julia) decides to make a trip to Venice at any rate, not that she is much of a traveler herself. That was always left to Harriet, her now dead friend and roomate.

The novel intertwines the apocryphal book of Tobit with the story of Julia herself. Venice changes her outlook, her routine, and ultimately, her life. The weaving of the art, architecture and culture of Venice into the story is subtle, and the presence of the Archangel Rafael is bewitching, both to Julia and to the reader. We only see a part of our world.

I went to the Apochypha (King James version is the most poetic) and read Tobit again (the novel contains Salley Vicker's embellished version) which I hardly remembered. A very entertaining and adventurous yarn it is.

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