CHASING ANGELS

Meg Henderson, Author CHASING ANGELS Meg Henderson. Flamingo, $24.9 $24.95 (304p) ISBN 978-0-00-225437-3

At the start of this undisciplined but winning tale of struggle and hard-won reward, sharp-tongued, viciously funny Kathy Kelly is back visiting Moncur Street, after years living in the Scottish Highlands. Alcoholism has finally killed Old Con, her irresponsible, maudlin father, and Kathy is staying in her native Glasgow just long enough to collect her mother's life insurance money from her lifelong enemy, Father Frank McCabe. Her memories of her early life in Glasgow are not pleasant: Only her relationship with her beloved mother, Lily, redeems her difficult, poverty-stricken childhood, and Lily's death in a senseless piecework factory fire when Kathy was 15 completely devastate her. Later, engaged out of guilt to the stolid Jamie Crawford, an unimaginative childhood friend, Kathy secretly becomes pregnant. After a heartbreaking miscarriage, she sets out for the Highlands. There she finds solace with Bunty and Angus MacDonald, an eccentric elderly couple whose genuine love for her and one other are unlike anything she has ever known before. This wonderful interlude is eventually interrupted by the MacDonalds' deaths, and her incendiary relationship with their peripatetic son Rory flares. Another writer might have been tempted to find romance here, but Henderson, in a lovely turn, allows these two prickly characters to age together in a happily irritable, platonic relationship. Kathy is a severely damaged character, but she is able to parlay her past into something of value—while her life story is not extraordinary, it is unquestionably worth telling. The novel suffers from its lack of structure and conventional resolution, but Henderson's (The Holy City) storytelling capabilities and Kathy's richly humorous voice—the voice of a survivor—save the day. (Mar. 1)

Reviewed on: 02/19/2001
Release date: 11/01/2000
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 306 pages - 978-0-00-733108-6
Paperback - 304 pages - 978-0-00-655026-6
Open Ebook - 158 pages - 978-0-85790-192-7
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