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Angels of Destruction

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Angels of Destruction Cover

 

Staff Pick

Keith Donohue has done it again. His second novel, Angels of Destruction, is as fascinating a story as its predecessor, The Stolen Child. But, while his first book was based on Celtic fairy myth, Angels pulls from several legends and myths.

Darkness falls on the Quinn household when teenage daughter Erica runs away from home, her story being one many of us parents have lived through: she's dissatisfied with her life, parents, school and believes she can only find true love and happiness by leaving with her boyfriend and getting on with her life. Ten years later, on a cold and snowy night, a little girl comes knocking on the door of Erica's widowed mother, Margaret, who believes the child to be her runaway daughter's daughter.

Donohue expertly blurs the line between the surreal and the real. Everyday trials and family relationships are woven together with ancient stories of angels, both light and dark. And, as in most good fantasy writing, the author's craft lies in making the reader wonder if it could all be true.
Recommended by Charlotte, Powells.com

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Keith Donohue's first novel, The Stolen Child, was a national bestseller hailed as "captivating" (USA Today), "luminous and thrilling" (Washington Post), and "wonderful...So spare and unsentimental that it's impossible not to be moved" (Newsweek).

His new novel, Angels of Destruction, opens on a winter's night, when a young girl appears at the home of Mrs. Margaret Quinn, a widow who lives alone. A decade earlier, she had lost her only child, Erica, who fled with her high school sweetheart to join a radical student group known as the Angels of Destruction. Before Margaret answers the knock in the dark hours, she whispers a prayer and then makes her visitor welcome at the door.

The girl, who claims to be nine years old and an orphan with no place to go, beguiles Margaret, offering some solace, some compensation, for the woman's loss. Together, they hatch a plan to pass her off as her newly found granddaughter, Norah Quinn, and enlist Sean Fallon, a classmate and heartbroken boy, to guide her into the school and town.

Their conspiracy is vulnerable not only to those children and neighbors intrigued by Norah's mysterious and magical qualities but by a lone figure shadowing the girl who threatens to reveal the child's true identity and her purpose in Margaret's life. Who are these strangers really? And what is their connection to the past, the Angels, and the long-missing daughter?

Angels of Destruction is an unforgettable story of hope and fear, heartache and redemption. The saga of the Quinn family unfolds against an America wracked by change. As it delicately dances on the line between the real and the imagined, this mesmerizing new novel confirms Keith Donohue's standing as one of our most inspiring and inventive novelists.

Review:

"Tweaking some thematic elements of his previous novel, The Stolen Child, Donohoe now tells the story of Norah, a nine-year-old who appears on the doorstep of Margaret Quinn, a widow living a solitary existence in a small Pennsylvania town in 1985. Margaret eagerly takes in Norah to make up for the loss of her own daughter, Erica, who disappeared 10 years earlier after running away to join the Angels of Destruction, a West Coast revolutionary group. Margaret passes off Norah as her granddaughter and enrolls her in school, where Norah becomes friendly with a boy who's been abandoned by his father. Complications ensue when Margaret's sister arrives and has to be convinced that Norah is Erica's daughter. Sandwiched between the story of Margaret and Norah's unusual relationship is the flashback narrative of teenage Erica's road adventures with her boyfriend on their way to join the Angels of Destruction. Norah's unexplained origins form the enigmatic core of this story, and though she comes across as more of a novelistic conceit than a flesh and blood character, the novel movingly illustrates the quest for connection hardwired into every human heart." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

By day, Keith Donohue is the consummate Washington bureaucrat, toiling away in the National Archives. But when he's not approving grants for the National Historical Publications and Records Commission, he's summoning strange, fey creatures for his marvelous novels. Donohue's first book, "The Stolen Child" (2006), was a surprise best-seller that recast Irish folklore in a mid-20th-century American setting.... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review)

Review:

"[A] strange and finely written novel. Donohue has a talent for using small details to draw his characters, and the result is a dark and unsettling story that takes hold of the reader. Recommended." Library Journal

Review:

"With ghostly visions and otherworldly experiences throughout, the story occupies both real and imagined worlds, but it fails to do so in a captivating or credulous way, and the entire narrative feels shrouded in clouds from beginning to end." Kirkus Reviews

Synopsis:

An unforgettable story about faith and fear, Angels of Destruction tells the mesmerizing story of Norah, a nine-year-old girl who seems to materialize out of thin air when she arrives one bitterly cold night on the doorstep of Margaret Quinn.

About the Author

Keith Donohue's first novel, The Stolen Child, was a New York Times bestseller. For many years a ghostwriter, he now works at a federal governmental agency in Washington, D.C. He has published short stories and literary criticism, most recently an introduction to the collected works of Flann O'Brien. Donohue holds a Ph.D. in English from the Catholic University of America.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

Scot, September 16, 2011 (view all comments by Scot)
I loved Keith Donohue's debut novel, The Stolen Child. Angels of Destruction is a great follow-up. I found it riveting, fun, fast paced and intriguing. One of my favorite things about the author is the way he builds characters out of what they do, rather than by explaining the motivation behind every action and given the subject matter of his first two novels, this method of characterization works like detective novels that allow you to collect clues and race to solve the murder before the climatic reveal. Great reading.
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Chris Horne, March 19, 2009 (view all comments by Chris Horne)
In 1985 in wintry Pennsylvania nine year old Norah knocks on the door of lonely widow Margaret Quinn. The older woman lets the frozen waif inside, but is surprised to learn the child insists she does not have parents and has always been on her own. Norah explains that she needed shelter from the cold night and saw the light in Margaret's home. Margaret excitedly allows Norah to stay; feeling redemption as her own daughter Erica as a teen ran away a decade ago to the West Coast with her boyfriend to join the radical Angels of Destruction.

Margaret and Norah agree that Norah will masquerade her as her granddaughter. Norah enters the school and becomes friends with a student Sean whose dad abandoned him. When Norah begins to insist she is an angel with a destructive message, some fear her while others revel in her seemingly magical happiness. However, one person in the shadows has followed her from before and struggles with what to do about her.

Obviously the bond between Margaret and Norah is the center of the tale as they even convince the older woman's skeptical sister that the child is her grand-niece. Using flashbacks, readers learn what happened to Erica on the road west. However, the key to the story line that keeps reader's attention is who Norah truly is and what is her mission in Pennsylvania.

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Product Details

ISBN:
9780307450258
Publisher:
Crown Publishing Group (NY)
Subject:
Girls
Author:
Donohue, Keith
Subject:
Supernatural
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Psychological fiction
Subject:
Widows
Publication Date:
March 2009
Binding:
Hardcover
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
368
Dimensions:
9.56x6.75x1.33 in. 1.40 lbs.

Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

Angels of Destruction
0 stars - 0 reviews
$ In Stock
Product details 368 pages Shaye Areheart Books - English 9780307450258 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

Keith Donohue has done it again. His second novel, Angels of Destruction, is as fascinating a story as its predecessor, The Stolen Child. But, while his first book was based on Celtic fairy myth, Angels pulls from several legends and myths.

Darkness falls on the Quinn household when teenage daughter Erica runs away from home, her story being one many of us parents have lived through: she's dissatisfied with her life, parents, school and believes she can only find true love and happiness by leaving with her boyfriend and getting on with her life. Ten years later, on a cold and snowy night, a little girl comes knocking on the door of Erica's widowed mother, Margaret, who believes the child to be her runaway daughter's daughter.

Donohue expertly blurs the line between the surreal and the real. Everyday trials and family relationships are woven together with ancient stories of angels, both light and dark. And, as in most good fantasy writing, the author's craft lies in making the reader wonder if it could all be true.

"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Tweaking some thematic elements of his previous novel, The Stolen Child, Donohoe now tells the story of Norah, a nine-year-old who appears on the doorstep of Margaret Quinn, a widow living a solitary existence in a small Pennsylvania town in 1985. Margaret eagerly takes in Norah to make up for the loss of her own daughter, Erica, who disappeared 10 years earlier after running away to join the Angels of Destruction, a West Coast revolutionary group. Margaret passes off Norah as her granddaughter and enrolls her in school, where Norah becomes friendly with a boy who's been abandoned by his father. Complications ensue when Margaret's sister arrives and has to be convinced that Norah is Erica's daughter. Sandwiched between the story of Margaret and Norah's unusual relationship is the flashback narrative of teenage Erica's road adventures with her boyfriend on their way to join the Angels of Destruction. Norah's unexplained origins form the enigmatic core of this story, and though she comes across as more of a novelistic conceit than a flesh and blood character, the novel movingly illustrates the quest for connection hardwired into every human heart." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "[A] strange and finely written novel. Donohue has a talent for using small details to draw his characters, and the result is a dark and unsettling story that takes hold of the reader. Recommended."
"Review" by , "With ghostly visions and otherworldly experiences throughout, the story occupies both real and imagined worlds, but it fails to do so in a captivating or credulous way, and the entire narrative feels shrouded in clouds from beginning to end."
"Synopsis" by , An unforgettable story about faith and fear, Angels of Destruction tells the mesmerizing story of Norah, a nine-year-old girl who seems to materialize out of thin air when she arrives one bitterly cold night on the doorstep of Margaret Quinn.
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