The Angel of Galilea by Laura Restrepo

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Synopsis

Laura Restrepo's prize-winning The Angel of Galilea, newly translated into English, is a sublimely original, utterly contemporary story of love, faith, poverty, and mystery.

Mona, a Colombian journalist once idealistic and determined to better the world, has been reduced to recounting the vapid pronouncements of newly crowned beauty queens for the tabloid journal that employs her. When her editor sends her to investigate reported sightings of an angel in a barrio on the outskirts of Bogotá, it's just another day's work. The angel craze has arrived late from America, and true to Colombian fashion she will now be expected to "warm up another topic already cold in the U.S."
        
When she arrives in the flooded poorest-of-the-poor barrio of Galilea, she finds the residents in passionate conflict over a strange but beautiful young man. Magnificent, overwhelming, enigmatic, and possessing an undeniable sexual magnetism, he is revered by some as an angel and denounced by others, including the local priest, as an infernal impostor. Mona reads the story of this "angel without a name" in tattered journals transcribed by his mother and communes silently with him in the moonlight, falling deeply, passionately in love with him. Risking all, she commits herself to saving him from the forces that would destroy him.

This silent, powerful angel, left out of the official heavenly host, personifies for the outcast, impoverished residents of Galilea their faith and hope. For Mona he is the avatar of a mystery she abandoned in childhood and, in a single, passionate, intimate embrace, fulfills both her desire to love completely and her longing to believe.

The Angel of Galilea has been awarded the Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz Prize in Mexico and the Prix France Culture in France.
 

About Laura Restrepo

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Laura Restrepo has been very active in politics and journalism throughout Latin America and has lived in Colombia, Argentina, Mexico, and Spain. She was professor of literature at the National University of Colombia as well as political editor of the weekly magazine Semana. She is the author of several novels, including El Leopardo al Sol (Leopard in the Sun, forthcoming from Crown). She currently lives in Bogotá, Colombia.
 
Published September 14, 1998 by Crown. 193 pages
Genres: Religion & Spirituality, Education & Reference, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Angel of Galilea

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Any possibility that Restrepo intends a satire on contemporary suggestibility is scuttled by rapturous italicized purple passages in which Orifiel ""speaks"" of his unearthly origin and earthly mission-though it remains (just barely) possible that he is, as some allege, merely an ""autistic schiz...

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Kirkus Reviews

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Any possibility that Restrepo intends a satire on contemporary suggestibility is scuttled by rapturous italicized purple passages in which Orifiel “speaks” of his unearthly origin and earthly mission—though it remains (just barely) possible that he is, as some allege, merely an “autistic schizoph...

Sep 30 1998 | Read Full Review of The Angel of Galilea

Publishers Weekly

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Although La Monita spares no effort to find out if the angel is real or if other, more earthly explanations --epilepsy or drug abuse mixed with superstition--can explain him, the point of the narrative has more to do with the people's special need for angels.

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Austin Chronicle

In a country where the worst slums are named after Biblical cities, priests enlist teenage thugs to intimdate parishoners, and the newspaper's top priority is the national beauty pagent, an angel arrives in the barrio.

Dec 03 1999 | Read Full Review of The Angel of Galilea

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