THE PRESIDENT'S ANGEL by Sophy Burnham

THE PRESIDENT'S ANGEL

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KIRKUS REVIEW

 The third and final entry in Burnham's self-proclaimed ``angel cycle'' (A Book of Angels; Angel Letters--not reviewed). More narrative sermon than fully developed novel, it's the story of the spiritual transformation of a President. ``It was on the 695th night of his reign that the President saw the angel. He awoke from a light and fitful sleep to see the form balancing on the end of his bed.'' That rhapsodic opening gives way to a description of an apocalyptic near-future in which the Free World's leader lives in a ``Presidential Palace,'' cynical and burdened by a war that rages ever closer to a Star Wars-like conclusion. At first, the angel terrifies--a flaring column of light, it takes human form and stares at the President with such love and compassion that he feels his whole life thrown into question. He tries to forget the apparition, busying himself with his advisors, particularly bitter workaholic Jim. But the angel reappears and leads the President's gaze out his bedroom window. It then flies out the window and into a park filled with ragged war protestors; there, the angel stops and bows to an especially abject-looking beggar. Haunted by the beggar, the President ponders the meaning of it all. Meanwhile, his advisers--convinced that their leader is losing his grip--plot to depose him. In the course of all this, moreover, a reporter's young daughter also happens to see an angel in the Presidential Palace. In the end, the President makes his peace with the beggar, who, it seems, is another angel. Reconciling with all these celestial beings, he also gains the confidence to make peace with the Russian premier--who has an angel of his own. Burnham says she wrote this in a ``transport of joy.'' Her inspiration is palpable--but her story and characters remain pale images, never taking on real life or force.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1993
ISBN: 0-345-38510-1
Page count: 176pp
Publisher: Ballantine
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 1993




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