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The Mark of the Angel: A Novel
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The Mark of the Angel: A Novel

3.61  ·  Rating Details ·  758 Ratings  ·  55 Reviews
This novel marks the stuning American debut of an internationally acclaimed writer.  Combining the narrative drive of Birdsong with the emotional resonance of The Reader, The Mark of the Angel is a haunting and unforgettable tale of three lives woven together by longing, fate, and the weight of history.

The year is 1957, and the place is Paris, where the psychic wounds of W
Paperback, 240 pages
Published August 8th 2000 by Vintage (first published January 1st 1998)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Annie Bellet
Jan 28, 2008 Annie Bellet rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who hate themselves and English Majors
Recommended to Annie by: my mother, curse her
Shelves: to-burn
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Amy McElroy
Dec 07, 2008 Amy McElroy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
WOW! Again, it was one of those books that when i started it, wasn't sure if i'd bother to finish it. It seemed silly and slow and almost amateur. However, the farther i read the more i became enthralled in it! Amateur, it is NOT! It's the kind of story that is about everything and nothing all at once....just a glimpse into the lives of the characters.
Guillermo Jiménez
No sé qué hacer con esta lectura.

Desde el comienzo sabes que estás entrando de lleno a la "novela del siglo XXI". Nada tan experimental como para ser incomprensible, pero, con esos guiños del narrador/autor que te ubican en una forma contemporánea de hacer literatura.

Al final, la novela, la autora, quien cuenta nos da un bofetadón y hace un planteamiento poco usual, ¿lo digo? ¿Realmente importa? Bueno, no lo haré, quizás sí lean el libro, aunque lo dudo.

Nunca me ha gustado contar la trama. La an
Michael Armijo
Nov 02, 2010 Michael Armijo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This author is from France. The book was such a bestseller there that it was translated for the States. Need I say more? While I was in New York City in August 2000 I read in the NY Times Book Review about this book.

It primarily appealed to me because of the review written by Arthur Golden, author of MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA. I had just finished his book. Arthur Golden wrote that this book was "Compelling and highly original...You many never read a novel crafted with more wonder and mystery." I woul
Sep 16, 2013 Louis rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
SPOILER ALERT. painfully recognizable, this novel in a nutshell deals with war, french imperialism, love and betrayal. i had a very tough time getting through this story. i couldnt get into saffies mindset at all. spoiler alert ahead.

i dont care if she was unhappy with her husband. he meant well although he remains a flawed human being. you just dont betray people like this. im too much familiar with the dark side of love to enjoy reading about adultery so misschievously and heartbreakingly desc
Oct 24, 2013 Shawna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beautiful, precise, fallout of infidelity and the horrors of war. Hauntingly sad. Read it in English but if I happen to get my hands on a French copy it would be worth the reread.
Apr 22, 2013 Vishy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After reading Nicole Brossard’s ‘Yesterday, at the Hotel Clarendon’, I thought of exploring more works by French-Canadian authors when one of my friends recommended ‘The Mark of the Angel’. I got it recently and finished reading it today. Here is what I think.

The story told in ‘The Mark of the Angel’ starts in 1957 in Paris. It has been twelve years since the end of the Second World War, but some things don’t seem to have changed much. There is trouble in Algeria and French troops are trying to
May 13, 2013 Ffiamma rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: donne, canada
"in ogni storia d'amore folle c'è una svolta; può giungere prima o poi, ma in genere arriva abbastanza presto; la maggior parte delle coppie sbagliano nell'affrontarla, slittano, si ribaltano e vanno a sfracellarsi contro il muro, con le ruote per aria.
la ragione è semplice: contrariamente a quanto si era creduto durante le prime ore, i primi giorni, o al massimo durante i primi mesi dell'incantesimo, l'altro non ci ha trasformato. il muro contro cui ci si schianta dopo la svolta è il muro di s
Sep 08, 2016 Maria rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
"Ya debes de haber reparado en cómo los mayores parecen recuperar un aire de inocencia. El tiempo misericordioso pasa una goma de borrar por sus mentes y cuerpos, desdibujando sus rasgos característicos, borrando sus recuerdos, disolviendo, una tras otra, las duras lecciones que les ha enseñado la vida... Uno olvida, ya sabes... Ah, sí, uno olvida..."
Pierre Fortier
Mar 19, 2014 Pierre Fortier rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nancy Huston m'a eu. Je ne la connaissais pas. Elle m'a eu. Sous les traits d'un amour adultère à Paris entre une jeune allemande et un émigré hongrois juif, ce couple qui est toujours accompagné par le nouveau-né Émil, fils du mari flûtiste Raphaël à la carrière internationale, se campe l'histoire qui débute en même temps que la décennie '50.

En effeuillant un à un les vêtements du passés du néo-couple infidèle juif-allemand, Huston met à nu les personnages. Habillement, elle trace le parallèle
Keith McCulloch
Sep 24, 2016 Keith McCulloch rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Every time I pick up this book I read it again.Each time it's a different experience as the world changes year by year. It has had more influence on my own writing than anything I've ever read. Sophie is the effect of war and tragedy. For her, happiness is an intense and fragile joy surrounded by a void of non existence. "She stands there and does nothing." On the opening page there is a poem part of which reads "Now, now, don't cry..."
If I had been a teacher my ideal assignment would be two bo
May 01, 2010 Melinda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book with great interest, and was quite moved and captivated. The book starts and ends grimly, but there is no other hope for Saffie, as we learn of her past. I was entranced by the beauty of the middle part of the book, and it made a mark on me. There is a fresh perspective on the holocaust, as seen through a child's innocent eye, and there is an epic love affair that is forbidden. I thought the writing was excellent at times, but was taken aback somewhat when the author had persona ...more
Jan 04, 2015 Maryan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The lasting impact of the horrors of war, the healing possibilities of love, then human need to continue conflict, cross cultural barriers, jealousy and intrigue are all aspects of this sad and engrossing novel. A rather sullen and mysterious maid is hired by an emerging flautist who falls in love with her. They marry, have a child and her coldness and distance do not diminish. Her husband sends her on an errand to an instrument repair expert and she falls in love. Their backgrounds are differen ...more
Feb 07, 2013 Shana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ce livre je l'ai lu il y a deja longtemps. J'aurais souhaite pouvoir donne 3 etoiles er ce n'est pas un livre obigatoire, mais a l'epoque c'etait le premier roman j'ai ku qui Decrit la vie d'une allemande pendant la guerre (par rapport au miseres vecu par les deportes, ou les francais). J'ai trouve tres important de demontrer le misere allemand. Le style de l'ecriture est interessant, un peu different, je me suis demande plusieurs fois si c'etait un livre en traduction ou bien ecrit p ...more
"En fin de compte, L’empreinte de l’ange est un roman particulier que je n’aurais jamais lu si on ne me l’avait pas prêté. Il m’aura pas mal perturbée, surtout au niveau de l’intrigue et des éléments que j’aurais appris sur notre histoire. La fin m’aura ébranlée par sa soudaineté ainsi que son caractère tranchant, injuste. Cela étant, j’ai pu constater que Nancy Huston avait une plume de talent, sachant faire passer une multitude d’éléments entre ses lignes, ses mots, et en ceci, c’était une trè ...more
Jan 02, 2014 Kirsten rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sweet-2016
Chris Bohjalian (sp? sorry Chris) endorses this book, and yet I can't really understand why. This book was such a solid...Fine. It definitely picked up towards the end, and it had pacing (in the sense that you can plow through it in a day) but overall it just didn't have enough substance or interest to make me even want to write anything about it. I did like the tragic ending because apparently I like tragedies, so if you want a little 1960s France tragedy, give this one a try. #tooambivalenttow ...more
Mar 30, 2014 Stefano rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: in-italiano
Non so. Mi hanno prestato questo libro per farmelo leggere perché molto emozionante. Il difetto più grande di questo libro è però l'esatto contrario: il racconto molto, troppo impersonale. Come se una asettica telecamera spiasse le vite dei protagonisti, le registrasse, e le raccontasse cinquanta anni dopo. Questo occhio esterno rende i personaggi assolutamente piatti e monodimensionali, e anche quando li vuole raccontare cattivi o malvagi, non riesce nello scopo di coinvolgere. Peccato, perché ...more
Dire que je suis passée à côté est un euphémisme et une contre-vérité. J'ai plutôt réussi dans la douleur à passer au travers...
Ce roman tant vanté est court et pourtant sa lecture m'a été si difficile, si pénible. J'ai détesté, dès les premières lignes, le style de l'auteur, le ton de la narration, les personnages.
Bref la seule qualité que je reconnaisse à ce roman c'est qu'il ne laisse pas indifférent.
Sarah Pavlina
This is a novel in which the story told is not as important as the way it is told. I was fascinated with Huston's use of prose to sculpt her story and her characters. No paragraph, no sentence was written without thought as to its shape in the whole. Reading this novel was almost equivalent to watching a well-choreographed dance. It was a true pleasure to read.
Diana Barron
Jul 08, 2014 Diana Barron is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
This book gave me nightmares. There is not one pleasant character and there is a sense of impending doom from page 1. I don't recommend it. However, in spite of not enjoying it at all I thought it was well written, albeit" in a very artificial style. The writer makes comments to the reader which is annoying!
Jun 15, 2012 Ellie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this in the original French, and found the prose just to my liking. It feels natural, elegant and measured but not self-conscious, and the characters are expertly revealed gradually, and very compelling. Having studied it in depth for University, I will be re-reading it as a whole/as a novel and I am very glad to have discovered it.
Michèle Dextras
Sep 04, 2010 Michèle Dextras rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book first in French in 1999 and then again in English in January 2012 as I had recommended it for my Book Club. You can see what my Book Club thought of the book at

Jun 29, 2016 Heather rated it did not like it
Well, if you are looking for an uplifting, inspirational book, don't bother with this one. "The Mark of the Angel" was a depressing read and just when I thought Saffie was finally seeing a glimmer of hope, it was at the expense of her husband and child. A total waste of time!
Aug 28, 2014 S. rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
despite the pathetic resolution it is quite an interesting book when read in the right context. maybe because of that the author stress as often as she can "we are in the Paris of 1940's..." (or 50's?)
not bad at all but certainly not a jewel
What a sad story! A well written novel that was a quick easy read. I enjoyed the characters in spite of their prediliction towards complicated lives that resulted in sadness and at times despair.
Even infant/toddler Emil is tragic and wise beyond his years.
Jul 04, 2011 Vionna rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The characters in this novel were all tragic in some respects. The narrator tells their story by looking down upon them from above and there are many portents of what will become of them. There is much love and betrayal intertwined with the politics of France in 1950s.
May 10, 2016 Helena rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hauntingly sad The Mark Of The Angel deals with themes that have been dealt with before: war, imperialism, infidelity, loss, love, pain, part of the human condition and therefor always relevant.
Carolyn Heinze
The story is fine, but the writing is too gimmicky for my taste. The clipped sentences seem forced. Stopped at about 150 pages, because it was gettinig irritating. Don't know much about Huston, but I imagine her style appeals to the same French lit crowd that heralds Houellebecq as a good writer.
Dolores Sobrino
Jun 07, 2012 Dolores Sobrino rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Très bien
Nov 02, 2010 Denise rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction, tbz
Different yet unsatisfying for me. I can't really say why. Unique in style. There were parts I enjoyed, but the story never really gripped me. Didn't like the ending.
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(from Wikipedia)
Huston lived in Calgary until age fifteen, at which time her family moved to Wilton, New Hampshire, USA. She studied at Sarah Lawrence College in New York, where she was given the opportunity to spend a year of her studies in Paris. Arriving in Paris in 1973, Huston obtained a Master's Degree from the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, writing a thesis on swear words und
More about Nancy Huston...

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