The Way the Angel Spreads Her Wings

Barry Callaghan, Author Ontario Review Press $19.95 (296p) ISBN 978-0-86538-073-8
Callaghan's debut novel is a noteworthy reflection on the elusiveness of love and the inescapable impact of family. Adam Waters is a journalist on a bittersweet, wide-ranging search (from Lake Ontario to Puerto Rico to Africa) for Gabrielle, a waif-like, unpredictable woman who introduced him to love when he was an adolescent, a time depicted in frequent flashbacks. Adam's relationship with his melancholic, religious mother is also revealed, clarifying his metaphysical longings and the conflict between spirituality and sensuality he experiences during erotic encounters with Gabrielle. The meandering journey and the shifts from past to present and from country to country result in a narrative incoherency somewhat mitigated by Callaghan's exceptional command of language. Descriptive passages moving fluidly into philosophical commentaries suffused in romanticism balance harsh plot elements, such as Gabrielle's revelation of abuse by her superficially pious father. Further trials lead her to help lepers, leaving little room in her life for Adam. Callaghan's short fiction was collected in The Black Queen Stories. (May)
Reviewed on: 04/29/1991
Release date: 05/01/1991
Paperback - 300 pages - 978-1-55278-028-2
Hardcover - 340 pages - 978-1-55278-659-8
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