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Miss Garnet's Angel
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Instance's of the Number 3 - Original Paiting   Instance's of the Number 3 - Original Paiting

When one writes a book one shouldn't, I think, have more than the dimmest idea of why one is writing it. But, having written it, one can begin to see the point of why it was written - and also certain threads.

I wrote 'Miss Garnet's Angel' out of a potent mix: a love of Venice, and a love of art and also ancient literature. In particular, I find the very old tale of Tobias, who travels to Medea unaware he is accompanied by the Archangel Raphael, powerful and evocative. It has the quality of a myth or fairy story, seeming to mean much more than its literal sense. And I am drawn to the various paintings, by artists of all ages, on this theme.

In 'Miss Garnet's Angel' I tell the contemporary story of Julia Garnet, a retired school teacher, who comes to Venice prompted by the death of a friend. She finds the Guardi panels in the Chiesa dell' Angelo Raffaele (to see one, click on 2 on the map in the Venice section) which tell the story of Tobias and the Angel and, in my own language, I tell that story alongside hers. Some readers have found the two tales difficult to assimilate simultaneously at first, but most have found they come to accept and then enjoy the parallels and, finally,with luck, to see the point of them.

The two tales do in fact reflect and comment on each other (but not I hope, in obvious ways). This reflects my view that human nature doesn't fundamentally change, and that problems of moral choice and issues of good and evil recur throughout all civilisations, regardless of race, place or time. Another way of putting this (the old way) is that there are demons and angels, and we can choose whether or not to be be influenced by them. I also like the ancient idea - which we find in Homer and Virgil for example - that when we are helped or hindered by other people they take on the identity of the gods, or, as in this story, angels or devils.

If you want to know more about the background of 'Miss Garnet's Angel' or to learn more about some of the subject matter in the book, click on the relevant section on the top left of this page.

The continued popularity of 'Miss Garnet's Angel' has led to a reissued classic edition with an introduction by the author and six sample chapters of 'Mr Golightly's Holiday' at the end. Sales of 'Miss Garnet's Angel' are estimated to be over 350,000.

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