Friday, August 28, 2009

Booksellers Speak Out for A QUIET BELIEF IN ANGELS by R.J. Ellory

Sally Brewster and Frazer Dobson of Park Road Books in Charlotte, North Carolina have joined the chorus of voices singing the praises of R.J. Ellory's A Quiet Belief in Angels:

"Every so often, not often enough, a book comes along that makes us say, "Whoa, Nellie!" Shadow of the Wind was one of them. So was Water for Elephants. Let's not forget King of Lies or Serena. Sometimes it just happens. And it has happened again. Meet our new favorite book, which will be yours too.

R. J. Ellory (known to me as Roger; we've exchanged emails) is a proper Englishman who decided rather than follow the edict of "write what you know," decided he'd rather write what interested him. And that just happened to be the American South. His new novel A Quiet Belief in Angels is set in southern Georgia starting at the time World War II is breaking out. Joseph Vaughan is thirteen, and living in the small-town world of Augusta Falls. The calm and sense of community get shattered early on when young girls start turning up murdered. The killer remains a shadowy presence throughout the novel. Joseph becomes obsessed with the murders, and gathers his friends to become the Guardians. Together, they try to keep the girls of Augusta Falls safe.

The past, of course, follows Joseph even when he moves to Brooklyn to be a writer. Faulkner's famous quote "The past is never dead. It's not even past" really applies here. You won't believe what happens, and you won't see the ending coming at all. (Sally claims she did; I have my doubts!)

A Quiet Belief in Angels is simply stunning. The writing is gorgeous and evocative; you'd never believe it was written by a non- Southerner. It's rich and deep, and the prose is positively Conroy-esque in its description. Sally and I both stayed up way too late reading this novel. Read this book. Just read it."

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