The Mark of the Angel
By Nancy Huston
(Vintage Books USA, Paperback, 9780375709210, 240pp.)
Publication Date: August 8, 2000
List Price: $15.00*
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This novel marks the stuning American debut of an internationally acclaimed writer. Combining the narrative drive of Birdsong with the emotional resonance of The Reader, The Mark of the Angel is a haunting and unforgettable tale of three lives woven together by longing, fate, and the weight of history.
The year is 1957, and the place is Paris, where the psychic wounds of World War II have barely begun to heal and the Algerian war is about to escalate. Saffie, an emotionally damaged young German woman, arrives on the doorstep of Raphael, a privileged musician who finds her reserve irresistible. He hires her, and over the next few days seduces her and convinces her to marry him. But when Raphael sends Saffie on an errand to the Jewish ghetto, where she meets András, a Hungarian instrument maker, each of their lives will be altered in startling and unexpected ways. As Saffie learns to feel again, her long buried memories coupled with the inexorable flow of historical forces beyond anyone's control, create a tableau of epic tragedy. The Mark of the Angel is a mesmerizing novel of love, betrayal, and the ironies of history.