"A few days before it all started, three men raped a crazy woman in the garden in front of my building. It was around then that my neighbor''s dog vaulted from a third-story window, landed on the street, and walked away unharmed. And the leper who sells lottery tickets ... gave birth to a healthy, beautiful baby."
To Mona, a cynical young reporter for one of Bogota''s many popular tabloids, these events seem significant only in retrospect. "Surely those were signs, among many others," she remarks, "but then again this insane city gives off so many doomsday warnings that no one pays attention anymore." Certainly, Mona''s own great adventure begins ordinarily enough when she is told to investigate the presence of an angel in one of the city''s poorest neighborhoods. At first she assumes that this is yet another example of Colombian journalists warming up "what is already passé in Miami." But when she arrives in Galilea in a cold, driving rain, and is taken to see the tall, dark, handsome--and nearly naked--celestial spirit, she begins to wonder if the stories might not be true.
Of course, this being Colombia, it isn''t long before the angel becomes both the object of a religious cult and the rallying point for a revolutionary movement. As peasants flock to him, the army and the church hunt him down. Meanwhile Mona finds herself falling in love with this possibly fallen angel, even as she continues to dig for less supernatural explanations for his strange power. Though Laura Restrepo''s prose occasionally overheats, for the most part her writing is refreshingly matter-of-fact with just a touch of irony, allowing even those who would be happy never to see another of Raphael''s cherubs peering out from a T-shirt or coffee mug to enjoy this angelic tale. --Alix Wilber
"This barrio angel teaches us how to see behind the appearance of things and how to embrace reality with all the senses." --Isabel Allende
"Laura Restrepo breathes life into a singular amalgam of journalistic investigation and literary creation. Her fascination with popular culture and the play of her impeccable humor, of that biting but at the same time tender irony . . . infuses them with unmistakable reading pleasures." --Gabriel García Márquez
Winner of Mexico''s Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz Prize, and France''s Prix France Culture, The Angel of Galilea introduces a refreshing new voice in Latin American literature to the English speaking audience.
Mona is a jaded reporter for a Colombian tabloid sent on assignment to investigate an angel sighting in one of Bogotá''s most devastated barrios, where she encounters a community torn apart by a passionate conflict over a beautiful man who walks the fine line between sanity and sainthood. For the people of Galilea, this mysterious and sensual "angel without a name" represents their hope amidst desperate circumstances; for Mona, he awakens her desire to love and gives her a reason to believe. When the barrio''s priest leads a revolt against the fallen angel, Mona risks everything to protect him from the gang that threatens to destroy him.
"Restrepo is a writer to treasure." --Alastair Reid
"Sharply resonant." --The New York Times Book Review
"Surprising, wonderful, and, for me, deeply moving." --Alvaro Mutis
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