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This is a quiet, gentle, meditative kind of book, one where you need to sit back and smell the roses rather than race through it to the end I very much enjoyed watching Miss Garnet, who is a retired school teacher, spinster and virgin, as she discovers there is so much to life than she has so far found.She travels to Venice, falls in unrequited love, meets new friends, solves a crime and experiences some good things and some not so good She probably participates in life in these few months than in all her previous years.There is also plenty of religious mysticism, beautiful descriptions of Venice which make you want to go there at once, and a parallel story within the story.Lots for the reader to enjoy and I am now keen to read by this author. Miss Garnet s Angel is the gentle story of Julia Garnet, a retired teacher, and her transformation in old age when she moves to Venice for six months following the death of her life long friend Out of her suburban English comfort zone, she allows people, paintings and the place itself to touch her soul for the first time There s much to like, including Julia Garnet herself, and the Venice backdrop is atmospheric and evocative However, having read other Vickers novels and thus armed with high expectations, for me this fell short The Story of Tobit, woven alongside the main narrative, seemed like a novelist trying too hard to be clever pretentious, dare I say and neither did I quite buy all the characters the twins, for instance, didn t quite ring true Plus, it s a minor gripe, but stylistically the excessive exclammation marks seemed at odds with the quiet, measured tone and interrupted the flow So overall, if you ve not read Salley Vickers before, I d say don t start here The Other Side of You is a much better, mature novel Go for that, I suggest, instead. A friend recently said to me, So many things are not worth talking about He was referring to the quiet power of the understated, and the British have a tradition of novels about the still small voices, and the profound yet ordinary emotions, that sometimes get short shrift amid the fireworks of our soap opera culture From Jane Austen E.M Fortsre to Kazuo Ishiguro, these novels remind us of how interior and how subtle much of our emotional experience actually is In writers like Barbara Pym, Penelope Fitzgerald, Anita Brookner, this experience is tied to people, mostly aging women, who are often discounted by those who ve embraced an operatic aesthetic In Miss Garnet s Angel, Sally Vickers takes a character whom Brookner would have made a tragic shell and gives her a transformation less dramatic but just as beautiful as any undergone by obviously romantic protagonists The novel wryly and gently explores the notions of salvation and faith, as well as faithless human love A modern reader, looking at the flyleaf, might assume the novel to be sentimental It is not, but it is compassionate, restrained, and quietly hopeful. I went into this with all my warning lights flashing it s gonna be spiritual and I m not , oh god, there s gonna be romance ew and she s gonna see angels, isn t she This was probably unfair to the author, but that hasn t stopped me before Miss Julia Garnet is a rather stupid woman who becomes fascinated by a story from the Apocrypha when she could be enjoying the endless art of Venice She also has very bad gay dar Vickers tries to interweave these two stories but as the outcome of the older one had already been laid out for the reader, I wished it would just go away I ve read pseudo biblical novels and actually enjoyed them The Red Tent by Anita Diamant because they were saying something interesting on two levels this is the way it was, this is us looking at it from behind the screen of the laconic biblical version In the end, I think this is someone who actually does write better than Dan Brown trying to write something similar to The da Vinci Code or such, but running up against the same problems the straining of credulity chief among them While I welcome this in cheezy mystery fiction, I expect something better from this sort of book.The angel business is telegraphed all over, Miss Garnet not sure if I can blame the author directly on this makes a silly error over the usage of Signore no, my dear, they aren t calling God by the homely title of Mister Signore means lord and it and mister master have been watered down to apply to all men , and the Apocrypha story contains such an egregious ball of lard as In your language, if you spell dog backwards well, you are not stupid, I guess, or you would not be reading this So, this Jew in Assyrian exile knows English Wow, how magical is that.And I think really, am I not stupid Why am I reading this Because I was ordering Barbarella from and this would only be another 2.22 Julia Garnet is sixty years old, emotionally repressed, sexually inexperienced and has spent her life in almost sacrificial frugality She is also the amazed heir to her former even frugal housemate s legacy Harriet seems to have had a secret a genius for investment Who knew Certainly not Julia Garnet.Both Julia and Harriet were dutifully pro labour, even deriving a sense of moral superiority or at least moral purity from the connection But beneath the austere surface, Julia Garnet was hungry for adventure, for travel, and, most unexpectedly, for beauty, the latter having been limited to admiring the inherent loveliness of flowers in other people s gardens Julia was starved for joy and she was shrinking into oblivion when her housemate s sudden death changed everything and brought Julia face to face with with her surprising destiny Where would you go if you suddenly had money to travel France Egypt Bora Bora Miss Garnet chose that most decadent and sensuous of Europe s cities, La Serenissima, Venice The mere mention of Venice evokes many images in the popular imagination elaborate Carnevale Masks extravagant chandeliers and gold leaf interiors illicit assignations in gondolas magnificent meals and expensive wines Murano glass and hand made shoes Venice has all of this And churches Lots and lots of churches Miss Garnet was CoE, of course, and like so many of her ilk, suspicious of anything Romish Her life was marked by as utter an absence of the voluptuous in terms of spiritual life as it was in terms of daily life Despite the suspicion and antipathy toward Catholic display, millions of Calvinists seem to feel almost envious of the astounding outpouring of genius and talent that even fairly modest Old World Catholic and Orthodox churches contain But none amongst them can rival Venice for sheer sensuous indulgence Despite the ravages of damp and salt, Venice is home to a vast artistic inheritance one that was about to rock Julia Garnet s world.The habits of a lifetime are not easy to break and Julia seeks out a fairly basic lodging except for one detail the balcony that presents to her view the glory of Venice s architecture and that indescribable light that so intrigued artists from da Vinci to Canaletto and beyond From her tiny perch above the teeming canals, Julia Garnet will dive into a life she could not have imagined Friends had been few and somewhat cold blooded in England but from her first day in Venice Julia seemed to attract an amazing number of interesting and talented people and for possibly the first time in her life, she fell in love Not once but twice And one of the objects her love was of all things an Angel An Archangel to be precise A beautiful androgynous Archangel whose presence seemed to follow her around the floating city His name was Raphael.Her other love was Carlo, a charming, worldly man with a vast knowledge of art, especially the artistic treasures resident in his home city Julia was certainly not looking for love when she ventured out on her first walk along the canal in search of interesting historical landmarks As a retired teacher of history, Julia had imagined an orderly progress through the history of the city but serendipity entered her life and turned its orderliness on its head.The mystical and the mundane live cheek by jowl in Venice in an intimacy unmatched anyplace else Salley Vickers, the author of Miss Garnet s Angel, captures the layered personality of Venice in parallel stories that unfold contrapuntally gradually advancing toward the grand reconciliation between dream and reality, innocence and experience, love and loss.Venice is a city of Angels but, perhaps than any, Archangel Raphael is an abiding presence Identified with healing and with the protection of travellers, he is a fitting avatar for Miss Garnet s adventure and on her first attempt at navigating the complex paths that lead everywhere and nowhere in Venice, she stumbles upon a rather obscure and little known church, the Chiesa San Raffaele Led by innocent curiosity, she trespasses on an art restoration project or perhaps I should say a transformation project because conventional, unimaginative Julia Garnet is about to be changed forever.Beauty does that Especially when it sneaks up on you Sensible people, practical people, serious people have little use for Beauty It s a distraction It enlarges your senses Colours suddenly become hypnotic Sounds that you would ordinarily screen out advance to the front of your consciousness Beauty intrigues us much as a brilliant magician does Can we trust our senses to give us an accurate picture or are we being subtly deceived What would happen if just for a moment we suspended our disbelief and let ourselves feel wonder What would it be like not having to understand something intellectually but actually entering into it, becoming part of the story instead of the critic Level headed Julia Garnet succumbs to the charming story of Tobias from the Old Testament Book of Tobit told in paint by the renaissance artist Giantonio Guardi and finding new life at the hands of Toby and Sara, the almost twins and art restorers Julia discovers in the Church of San Raffaele.The story of Tobit, Tobias, Azarias Raphael in human form , an unpaid debt, a dog, a giant fish, and a beautiful but tragic bride is unlike anything else in the Judaic Old Testament We find no jealous, narcissistic Jehovah here Missing are the blood and gore, the stories of deceit and revenge, the anger and judgment of an implacable god Here we see the other face of the divine the gentle strength, the patient wisdom and, ultimately, the blinding radiance of pure spirit To say would risk spoiling the experience of Miss Garnet s Angel for potential readers of this little gem of a book Salley Vickers mastery of the art of story is fully realized in this novel and those who read it are changed by it Fair warning Miss Garnet s Angel is an irresistible force of nature, a mystery with no solution but many possible answers At the very least, you will question your assumptions about the possibility of entertaining Angels unaware , the limits of material existence, and the finality of death Not bad for one book Delia O Riordan 2012 I found this book at a used bookstore in Peterborough, Ontario, Canada, while on vacation I thought the subject Venice, an English spinster, life changes attractive But the blurb reviews really recommended it to me Penelope Fitzgerald, Joanna Trollope, and Anita Brookner all liked it Atlantic Monthly mentioned similarities to Barbara Pym The book incorporates a story from the Apocrypha It does it subtly, unfolding the biblical tale as the story of Miss Garnet s life blossoms The characters are complex Sad and hopeful at the same time. I ve honestly lost count of how many times I ve read this book..four times, maybe five..there is something about it that appeals to me, and I list it among my all time favourites.Julia Garnet is a spinster..a teacher who has dedicated her life to her career, a woman who has never known love, and whose communist leanings and lack of religious belief seem to have prevented her from enjoying many of the things life has to offer.Her retirement, the loss of a friend, and an unexpected legacy have a polarising effect on her, and quite out of character, she decides to spend six months in Venice, renting a small apartment in this beautiful city.As Venice works it s magic on Miss Garnet, she falls in lovewith Venice, with its splendid buildings and waterways, with her new life, and, with an enigmatic man she meets by chance..and with an Angel.She makes new friends, and meets new, interesting people, including a young man and woman, twins, who are restoring a series of panels depicting the tale of Tobias and the Angel, a story which is told in the Apocrypha, and which holds a strange fascination for Julia.As the story of Miss Garnets sojourn in Venice unfolds, the story of Tobias and his Angel unfolds alongside, adding a wonderful extra dimension to this book.Julia Garnet s life continues to expand as she explores what Venice has to offer, her social life blossoms, and she experiences a spiritual awakening of sorts, as she realises how wonderfully uplifting the religious worship she has shunned for most of her life can be.her life is becoming fuller than it s ever been.Unfortunately though, things are not always what they seem, people not always who they at first appeared to be, and Miss Garnet must suffer some setbacks, worries, and doubtsand unravel a few mysteries before she can regain her peace of mind.For me, this is a brilliantly multilayered story that I will probably read yet again.. &READ EBOOK ☜ Miss Garnet's Angel ⇱ Sie Besteht Darauf, Fr Ulein Genannt Zu Werden Und Es Ist Zu Vermuten, Dass Sie Unter Ihren Karierten R Cken Liebest Ter Tr Gt F R Venedig Ist Miss Garnet Wahrscheinlich Nicht Ger Stet Aber Dann Zieht Die Stadt Sie In Ihren Bann Und Macht Sie Mit Der Liebe, Dem Licht Und Einem Verschwundenen Engelsgem Lde Bekannt Miss Garnet s Angel is a clever and beautiful tale infused with a touch of mysticism and wonder Miss Garnet is a very rational retired teacher with communist sympathies who late in life discovers that there is far to life than her narrow outlook As Miss Garnet s prejudices are gradually swept away she discovers friends in unexpected places and becomes increasingly caught up in the story behind a old painting of Tobias and the Angel Sally Vickers has once again woven a story that questions what we think we know about faith and life gently encouraging the reader, like Miss Garnet to draw back the veil of what we are seeing and to look beyond the veil. Well written, but overrated Leaves a slightly nasty taste like Waugh s Handful of Dust The parallels with the story of Tobit probably work better second time round Even better if you re familiar with Venice, though I didn t notice the map