Joanna's Reviews > The Third Angel

The Third Angel by Alice Hoffman
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Aug 08, 09

bookshelves: fiction-21st-cent
Read in August, 2009

I almost stopped reading this book, because the first section didn't make much sense and didn't grab me. After reading the second and third sections of the book, I went back and read this first section - and I then I understood. At the end of the book, after the conclusion of the story, Hoffman has notes which say, "I didn't realize until after I was through writing that the novel could be read backward or forward and that a reader's understanding and knowlege of the story and the characters would be hugely different depending on what he or she knew or didn't know about the past." Boy, I wish I had known that to begin with! This book is for the scholarly reader. It's not a quick read, though it is only 275 pages. The Third Angel has a lot of very "deep" themes, and I'd love to discuss it with anyone who has read it. Does anyone want my paperback copy?
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Comments (showing 1-5 of 5) (5 new)

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message 1: by May (new)

May If you think I'd like it, you bet!


Joanna Sally grabbed it at lunch for her beach trip, so you can get it from her in the next week or so.


message 3: by May (new)

May I loved the Lion Hotel. Made me think of "Héloïse" and "The Shining."
I liked the ghost okay ("Stuart" is the name of one of my Scottish ancestors after all).
The angels, well, I normally like them really supportive. The third angel would be the other way around: we get salvation from despair by becoming the guardian of someone in need. Did I get that? Let's talk.


Joanna I thought the same thing about the angels - and it seemed backward to me, too. I also thought the "guardian of someone in need" idea was backwards...isn't that exactly what people go to therapy to stop doing? Or, was the author showing us - through all of this misery - that "salvation" through other's disfuction doesn't ultimately lead to anything but more disfuction...


message 5: by May (new)

May Lots of misery, indeed. Geee: she sleeps with the terminally-ill-future-husband of her sister. How bad can it get?
The backward thing might be worth discussing. Would therapy be as if going back in time and dismantling our disfunction, reaching out for a purer state until we'd get that ride back with the heron who brought us as a baby? For sure time is not simply linear, but I'm not sure I'd go with the author's take on it: coincidences function as a web in which her protagonists get trapped (sort of a fate you can't escape). I much prefer thinking repetitive events in terms of patterns for us to examine and reflect on.


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