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In the Company of Angels

3.68  ·  Rating Details  ·  234 Ratings  ·  92 Reviews
"In the Company of Angels" is the powerful story of two damaged souls trying to find their way from darkness toward light.Imprisoned and tortured for months by Pinochet's henchmen for teaching political poetry to his students, Bernardo Greene is visited by two angels, who promise him that he will survive to experience beauty and love once again. Months later, at the Tortur ...more
ebook, 288 pages
Published June 1st 2010 by Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (first published July 1st 2009)
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Mar 08, 2010 Greg rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, first-reads
At last I have won a first reads contest and I haven't hated the book.

Don't let my three star rating be too much of a fault against the book (as if anyone cares what I rate a book). I'd give it 7 stars out of 10, but I just can't bring myself to give it four stars.

The first part of a quartet, that might be released already in other countries, I'm not quite sure. Apparently the author is well respected outside of America, and generally unpublished here in his homeland. I do not kno
Written 'in a slow, ponderous prose, almost like the music of some strange film, grinding deeply, escalating and then dropping, but resonating for a long time', is Kennedy’s tale of torture and abuse, but also of hope and healing. Two characters are at the centre of this story: Nardo, a teacher who has survived torture at the hands of Chilean oppressors and is now trying to get back to normal, and Michela, a victim of domestic abuse. The story is compelling and rings true, and is written in a la ...more
Apr 13, 2010 Jill rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Every now and then, a book comes along that you want to tell the next person you meet, "You must read this." ANGELS is simply masterful -- an exquisitely-written book that focuses on the theme of torture (physical and emotional) and redemption. I promise -- you will not soon forget it.
switterbug (Betsey)
This is a resounding, deeply moving story of pain, sorrow, love, and redemption. Despite the characters' dark and soul-shattering journeys, light reflects on every page, both literally and aesthetically. Kennedy writes with an exquisite and tender timbre, lyrical and poetical, from core to root to stem to stalk to bloom. His prose is fueled with gravitas and grace, as he probes into the seeds of the subconscious with a Jungian finesse.

Nardo Greene is a Chilean teacher who is in Copenhagen receiv
Apr 20, 2015 Irene rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gave-away
I read this book so long ago, yet it continues to haunt me in untold ways. As it resolutely remains beside my "to-review" bench, I painfully hesitate to address my tenuous commitment to satisfactorily articulate how profoundly one book is capable of genuinely provocative reflection long after the last page is read. Yet, In the Company of Angels refuses to relieve me of lingering thoughts, so it is best to be rid of its rabid hold upon my dreams, much like Nardo, who has endured the tortuous an ...more
Mar 06, 2010 Cathy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've read many books that are page-turners, but In the Company of Angels drew me in beyond that. I, more than wanting to finish the book, wanted to savor every page and read small bits at a time to prolong the experience. Kennedy crafted a heart-wrenchingly beautiful and expertly-told story.

The characters' perspectives were woven together in a way that flowed with ease. Each character brought depth and insight to the story and added new meaning.

Kennedy wrote about difficult topics of abuse, hu
Friederike Knabe
Danish psychiatrist Thorkild Kristensen feels his case slipping away. His patient, Chilean exile Bernardo (Nardo) Greene, is avoiding eye contact and resisting all attempts to be coaxed back to the memories of the horrific events that are at the root of his harrowing physical and emotional pain. Yet, without confronting again those demons of the past, any healing of the body and the soul are unlikely to be possible. In this accomplished and deeply moving novel, Thomas E. Kennedy examines with pr ...more
In this novel a Chilean victim of torture is living in Copenhagen and forced by his therapist/trauma counselor to return to his memories of torture and to re-live them in the therapeutic setting, presumably so that the victim can then get over the trauma and "move on." Although the novel was quite beautiful in some ways, and quite thought-provoking (it could have been called "A History of Violence as Seen Through the Intersecting Experiences of a Torture Victim, a Domestic Violence Victim, a Per ...more
Mar 02, 2011 Sharyl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011-reads
In the Company of Angels, by Thomas E. Kennedy is a beautifully written novel set in Copenhagen, Denmark. Straightaway, that makes it a unique experience for me.

There are four different narratives, first and foremost, Nardo (Benardo Greene), a Chilean who has suffered physically and mentally at the hands of the Pinochet regime for about two years. He is now taking refuge in Copenhagen and being treated by a psychiatrist at the Torture Rehabilitation Center. We are given a window into the life o
Diane Tweed
Feb 11, 2011 Diane Tweed rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I received this as an AR from Goodreads.

I first have to say that this is not book I would normally read. However, the synopsis sounded interesting and I am looking to expand my reading interests.

Unfortunately, the book did not live up to my expectations. I couldn't connect with any of the characters. There is not a lot of dialogue, but rather a lot of internal thought processes. I found these thought processes strange, disjointed and somewhat unbelievable. I also had a hard time connecting with
Susan Tekulve
Oct 13, 2012 Susan Tekulve rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
At the beginning of In the Company of Angels, a Chilean torture survivor named Bernardo Greene sits in a street-side café in Copenhagen on a chill June day and muses, “How much of a survivor, in fact, survives? How much must remain of a survivor for him also to be called a man?” These questions become the central preoccupation of this wise and astonishingly beautiful novel that weaves together the lives of characters who have survived unspeakably evil events: After his release from the South Ame ...more
Apr 21, 2010 Jennifer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was fortunate to win this book from the blog written by Mary Whipple. I am very happy she lead me to a new author to eagerly await material from.

The story tells about a teacher who is brutally tortured in Chile, a divorced woman who has lost a child, her father with many life regrets, the therapist who is helping Nardo heal, and a young, immature, and self-centered boyfriend who is forced to self reflect.

I really enjoyed this story. Kennedy does an amazing job of capturing the human spirit th
Apr 25, 2010 Sherie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sometimes after I've read a particularly inspiring book, I find myself unwilling or unable to pick up another book. Savoring is something I don't often indulge in, but after reading this book in all of its terrible beauty, I am not ready to take on the challenge of any literature.
I was a bit hesitant to read this because of the promise of human suffering and while there is that, there is redemption and hope so eloquently articulated.
The protaginist is a man living in Copenhagen, after surviving
Apr 01, 2010 Maryjoamani rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I don't know what it is lately but the books I have read lately are wonderful. In the Company of Angels tells the story of a teacher/poet tortured under the Pinochet takeover in Chile. He immigrates to Denmark and works with a psychiatrist to heal. The story also tells of the broken life of a Danish woman who is struggling to find meaning in her life. Love, forgiveness, openness to the pain of the lives of others, tolerance, understanding are all themes is the very very special book. In the end, ...more
Mar 22, 2015 Jan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An exquisite reading experience - perhaps especially for a Copenhagen native. Thomas Kennedy demonstrates a keen sense of Danish culture and lack thereof. Beautiful story and convincing characters. Highly recommended.
Dec 18, 2014 Jennyb rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Thomas Kennedy is a talented writer, but I didn't like his novel In the Company of Angels. It's an ugly book, with some lovely passages, and an incongruously happy ending. It is, I suppose, about love, and (mild spoiler) that's where the happy ending comes in. That ending is hard to swallow, since the whole rest of the book is essentially about how awful people in love (or perhaps, "in love") are to one another. If interpersonal depravity isn't enough for you, there's also a heaping helping of s ...more
Carolyn Mck
Set in Copenhagen, the central characters are Nardo (a Chilean refugee who has suffered torture) and Michela, who has suffered domestic violence and the loss of her daughter through suicide. Other characters are Michela’s journalist father who is dying of cancer, Voss, an immature and violent young man and Kristensen, the doctor whose role it is to help Nardo face his memories so that he can be freed from his worst nightmares.

This sounds depressing but as the title suggests, the novel overall h
Feb 27, 2015 Ellen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The first in the wonderful Copenhagen Quartet as reissued by Bloomsbury. Disclaimer: Tom is a friend; footnote to disclaimer: my admiration of the books led to the friendship. This is a brilliant and moving exploration of our capacity to maintain our humanity in the face of inhumanity: torture rehabilitation, domestic abuse, tender romance.
Sep 29, 2013 Lexie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, trauma
In the beginning crouches a cornered man. He knows this:

"All flags are red with blood. Sangre perdida. History exonerates no people. We have all betrayed one another. Only the animals live in innocence, eating grass, eating flesh, but only to stay alive."

He has survived torture by other men who represented their country's government. His crime? Teaching poetry.

In another house a woman hides her bruises. Her crime? Being female.

Survivors of violence -- from the "ordinary" (the domestic; behind cl
Feb 06, 2011 Wendi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
In The Company of Angels
By Thomas E. Kennedy
Published by Bloomsbury USA, New York

Raw and unassuming, In The Company of Angels takes a gritty look into the lives of two damaged individuals trying to attain a better life. Bernardo “Nardo” Greene is a Chilean expatriate who was imprisoned and tortured under the Pinochet regime for teaching “subversive” poetry. Michela Ibsen is an exile in her own right; a survivor of domestic violence and the tragic loss of a child. It’s on the streets of Copenhage
Feb 06, 2011 Greer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I received this book for free via the Goodreads First Reads giveaway. Thomas E. Kennedy is an American writer who has lived for many years in Denmark. His work has been published and well-received outside of the U.S., but this is the first of his novels published here. It is the third of four stand-alone novels that make up his "Copenhagen Quartet".

Kennedy spent time working as a translator and editor for the Rehabilitation Center for Torture Victims in Copenhagen. He tackles that tough subject
Mar 28, 2011 GoodDay rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed, favorites
In the Company of Angels is not a story as much at it is a journey, and be prepared for it because it is a journey of deep pain.

I say often about reading - it doesn't matter how early a child learns to read, by third grade his peers have caught up. The same is true for potty training and toddlers - we all learn eventually to use the bathroom.

Emotional pain, like reading and potty training, is a lesson we will all be called upon to bear in our lives. We know this and every time we think about l
Feb 22, 2012 Barbara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This could be a simple love story, but Kennedy adds such depth and insight to his characters that it becomes far more. The players are all in turmoil and transition, some physical, all emotional; there are no sharp turns or sudden surprises - the action progressess methodically, exactly as it should to bring the novel to its satisfying conclusion.

The two primary characters have had incredibly painful and harrowing experiences. Bernardo Greene, a teacher, was arrested in his native Chile for shar
This was such a beautiful and powerful book about love, understanding, pain, suffering, loss, and so many of the emotions we all have to deal with throughout our lives. I also found it to be a story about some very vulnerable and good people who are trying to find themselves, and at the same time trying to find love and trust in others, after so many years of terrible physical and/or emotional abuse.

Everything about this book is so real, so true -- the characters, the story, the words. Thomas E.
Mar 18, 2010 Carl rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Bernardo Greene is a survivor of torture. Michela Ibsen is a survivor of domestic abuse. In The Company of Angels is the story of their respective healing journeys, alone, and then together. Thomas Kennedy's spare elegant prose touches lightly on their sorrow, their pain, but this light touch reveals the depth of their damaged lives, and the damaged lives of the people who surround them. Bernardo struggles in solitude, opening up slowly, in fits and starts, only to his psychiatrist, and only to ...more
May 04, 2010 MP rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: must-read
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Maria Elena
May 31, 2011 Maria Elena rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In the Company of Angels, set in Copenhagen, is a beautiful, lyrical and evocative tale that deals with the endurance of the human spirit. Through its characters, we are exposed to violence, pain, anger but also to courage, compassion, faith and beauty. The main character, Nardo, is a victim survivor of torture during the Pinochet regime in Chile. He’s in Copenhagen where he’s receiving treatment to recuperate from his ordeal. He’s slowly making progress but the periods when he’s trapped in his ...more
In the Company of Angels is a story about pain and love, abuse and resilience. It begins by following four story arcs told from four different points of view -- that of Bernardo (called Nardo in the book) Greene, a survivor of imprisonment and torture at the hands of the Pinochet regime in Chile; Michaela Ibsen, a survivor of domestic abuse; and to a slightly lesser extent, Voss, who is Michaela's younger lover, and Dr. Thorkild Kristensen, a psychiatrist at the Torture Rehabilitation Center in ...more
Jeff Scott
In the Company of Angels is a story about how we deal with the violence we see all around us how we heal from violence.

Nardo has been a political prisoner, tortured, with loved ones that may have been killed, all for teaching poetry to children. He is in Denmark getting psychological help in order to heal. His doctor, even though he has the best intentions to help him, is severely affected by what he learns about how Nardo was tortured. The severity of the violence even affects his family, caus
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Thomas E. Kennedy is an author of novels, short stories, and essays. He has been a journalist for World Medical Journal and the Danish Medical Association and a translator and editor for Copenhagen's Rehabilitation Center for Torture Victims and now teaches at Fairleigh Dickinson University. He lives in Copenhagen with his wife, a physician.

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