The Angel Cantata
Publication February 2013
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A novel by Jennifer Potter
with images by Ffiona Lewis
288 page Hardback 130mm x 190mm
with B/W images throughout
"A really unusual and effective narrative voice, showing great wisdom and assurance" - Financial Times
Inspired by a concert held during the Aldeburgh Festival on an American airbase in Suffolk, this haunting new novel shows how complex human relations and the power of place can capture and inspire the musical imagination. Washed-up composer Michael Anders retreats to England’s south coast to write a commission for a New York music festival. Plagued by the protracted absence in America of his psychoanalyst wife, and by boyhood memories of an angel glimpsed in the Suffolk marshes, Anders finds his unease growing as he enters a landscape at once reassuringly pastoral and drowning in apocalyptic junk. Norman castles, Martello towers and decaying WW2 fortifications bear witness to England’s military past, while the airwaves hum with spy chatter picked up by the radar installations that once linked wartime Pevensey to the Suffolk of his childhood encounter with the angel.
As Anders struggles to find his narrative and musical thread, he succumbs to the competing claims of Alice, his monster landlady, and Nancy Flight, a young punk singer with dirty fingernails and a siren voice. Holding the strands together is Walter Benjamin’s Angel of History, blown backwards into the future and straight into Anders’ inspired music.
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