From Harold Brodkey come three remarkable stories about the brief lives of two women and the troubling appearance of an angel above Harvard University
Considered by many to be among the greatest American writers of the twentieth century, Harold Brodkey created fiction that startled, provoked, and often confounded. These three novellas, told through the recollections of fictional alter ego, Wiley Silenowicz, serve as sterling examples of Brodkey’s magnificent talent. In “Ceil,” Wiley imagines the mother he never knew, brilliantly reinventing the woman who died when he was a child of two, creating a parent both idealized and painfully real. In “Lila,” Wiley remembers his adoptive mother, an unloving and unlovable, self-involved woman, whose early death from cancer left a permanent void in his family. And in “Angel,”the book’s remarkable closing piece, Wiley recalls a heavenly visitation that came to him and many others while studying at Harvard University, and which heralded a truth most difficult to bear. For lovers of literature who have yet to experience Brodkey’s unique style, soaring language, and conceptual brilliance, Women and Angels is a marvelous introduction to an American master.