The Gate of Angels

The Gate of Angels

Penelope Fitzgerald

From the Booker Prize-wining author of ‘Offshore’ and ‘the Blue Flower’ – this Booker Prize-shortlisted novel centres on Cambridge Fellow Fred Fairly’s search for a rational riposte to love.

In 1912 Fred Fairly is a Junior Fellow at the college of St Angelicus in Cambridge, where for centuries no female, not even a pussy cat, has been allowed to set foot (“though the starlings couldn’t altogether be regulated”). Fred lectures in physics and the questionable nature of matter and worries about the universal problem known in Cambridge at the time as ‘the absurdity of the Mind-Body Relationship’. To Fred this is tormenting rather than absurd. The young woman beside him when he wakes up one evening in the Wrayburns’ spare bedroom might help resolve it, but how can he tell if she is quite what she seems? Fred is a scientist. To him the truth should be everything, and indeed he thinks it is. But scientists make mistakes.

The Gate of Angels is a funny, touching and inspiring look at male-female relationships and the problems caused by thinking just a little too much.

Reviews of The Gate of Angels

    • ‘Reading a Penelope Fitzgerald novel is like being taken for a ride in a peculiar kind of car. Everything is of top quality – the engine, the coachwork and the interior all fill you with confidence. Then, after a mile or so, someone throws the steering-wheel out of the window.’ Sebastian Faulks
    • ‘Wise and ironic, funny and humane, Fitzgerald is a wonderful, wonderful writer.’ David Nicholls
    • ‘Contains more wit, intelligence and feeling than many novels three times its length.’ Observer
    • ‘Gilbert could have written this and Sullivan set it to music. It shows an Edwardian university at Cambridge at its eccentric best. There are so many characters that are a delight. So many foibles and so much fancifying. Fitzgerald is the only author I know who regularly gets reviews pleading her to write longer books.’ Daily Mail