Wednesday, 27 June 2012

The Third Angel

Four love stories in one novel and it all ended in tragedy. Enter the tragic world of love in The Third Angel. 

The characters in this novel are both beautifully and irritatingly flawed; the very factor that made them vulnerable to fall for the wrong men. It is only right to say, however, that the characters are admirable for their courage (though irrational and impulsive) to take chance on love. As in real life, those who change and grow survive the tragedy, while the rest who remained entangled, did not.

The novel begins in 1999 when Maddy Heller arrives in London to assist her older sister, Allie, whom she secretly feels insecure with. Love strikes Maddy when she finally meets Paul, her surprisingly charming brother-in-law to be.

The story then steps back in time in the 1960's London when the twenty-something Freida Lewis, daughter of a doctor, choose to work as maid in a hotel. She ditched her university classes to write poems and "live a real life". Love strikes Freida when she becomes the muse of Jamie Dunn, a heroin addict, singer, and boyfriend of an elitist woman.

Finally, the loose ends are tied in the story of twelve-year-old Lucy Green. In 1950's London, Lucy becomes the messenger between two parted lovers.

"He's nothing fierce or terrible or filled with light. He's like us, sometimes we can't even tell him apart. Sometimes we're the ones who try to save him. He's there to show us who we are. Human being aren't gods. We make mistakes."
Though the rough narration in third person limited the expression of emotions, the themes: complexity of love triangle; sorrows of doomed attractions; and death, were all well-explored. With those heavy themes packed in one novel, it was easy to overlook Alice Hoffman's reverse narration. She began the story in 1999 and ended it in 1950's, a key in keeping the suspense throughout the novel.

The highlight of this book is how the independent stories were interwoven clearly and smoothly through the use of character relations (ex. Freida is the mom of Paul) and in using London as the common backdrop.In its interweaving, the novel enlightens the reader on what a Third Angel really is. 

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