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Miss Garnet’s Angel

Miss Garnet’s Angel

Author(s): Salley Vickers

Location(s): Venice

Genre(s): Fiction

Era(s): 2000s



There is something very old-fashioned and reassuring about Salley Vickers’ novel Miss Garnet’s Angel. The themes, self-discovery and redemption have the air of a bygone age, despite the novel being set in contemporary Venice in a world of holiday apartment lets and Pizza Express-funded restoration works. Julia Garnet is a middle-aged woman who has been practising economies of the spirit for years. Hers is a closed-in world, dusty with Marx’s theories and when her friend and flatmate of 30 years dies Julia decides to spend the six winter months in Venice to recuperate from her loss. Miss Garnet is a dignified, brusque heroine and Salley Vickers’ prose is likewise unruffled and controlled. Miss Garnet’s epiphanies are as quiet and subtle as the “oro pallido” (pale gold) light in early Italian Art because, of course, art plays a part in this Venetian tale of emotional reawakening. Julia is moved by the depiction of Raphael in Guardis Tobias and the Angel: “something rusty and hard shifted deep inside Julia Garnet as she stood absorbing the vivid dewy painting and the unmistakable compassion in the angel’s bright glance.” She falls in love with Carlo, an art historian with crinkly eyes, white hair and a moustache. There are trials and tribulations to be undergone, Julia must unlearn all her old regimented ways of life, and this brings about heart ache and hurt. However, Vickers handles this with delicate sympathy, giving Julia Garnet a new sensitive view of the world, and the reader a resonant story of transformation. –Eithne Farry

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Book Reviews

Lead Review

‘Writes like a haunted angel.’ The Times

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An iconic novel of VENICE

Author: tripfiction

I read this novel when it was first published. That was in the year 2000! This is a novel that has really withstood the test of time and it is a book I often...

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The city unfolds before your very eyes… a great novel set in Venice

Author: Isabella Orff

An absolutely delightful book. Julia is a teacher, who has retired and with some money that has just come to her, she can finance a Winter sojourn in Venice. The story of Tobias and...

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