Saturday, March 28, 2009

Title Twenty Four: Angels by Marian Keyes

I've already noted my love for Keyes on this here blog, but somehow I managed to miss Angels, which is strange, because Lord knows I love me some of those crazy Walsh sisters. Angels is Maggie's story, and it takes place after Rachel's Holiday and before Anybody Out There? for those of you playing along at home.

Maggie is married to Garv, her first boyfriend, and they have a pretty decent life - he's an actuary, she works in entertainment law, and they have a house in Dublin. Maggie's the good Walsh girl who's never let her parents down, which makes it quite a shock when her marriage ends and her job is terminated in the span of 24 hours. After fleeing to Casa Walsh and spending several days in its bedlam trying to figure out what to do next, Maggie decides to get on a plane and head to Los Angeles to visit her best friend Emily, who is trying to make it as a screenwriter. Over the course of a month, Maggie is submerged in the sterotypical L.A. culture - everyone drives everywhere, all of the people are beautiful, the drinks are complicated, the waitstaff are out-of-work actors/models/writers, and each day is spent waiting for an agent to call. In the meantime, Maggie tries to be supportive of Emily, who is desperately trying to sell her latest screenplay (if it doesn't happen, she'll have to move back to Dublin in disgrace because her money is gone) and spends her days at the beach and her nights drinking at hotspots, trying to understand how she ended up several time zones away from her old life. There are a couple of romantic interests (male and female - Maggie tries hard to shed her good girl image), funny haircuts, and amusing shopping expeditions as well, but under the surface Keyes does what she does best: she exposes the story, layer by layer, so that the reader figures out how Maggie got to this point at the same time that Maggie does.

It's not fair to give away the answers because it would take away from the reading experience. I will say that Keyes shifts so smoothly from the present-time action of the book and Maggie's flashbacks that it gives the novel a very organic and realistic feel while avoiding being jarring or confusing. The further you read, the more pieces click into place, and that's why I love reading Keyes' books so much, whether they're about the Walsh sisters or not. Her stories are both light and serious, making you think but at the same time keeping a steady flow of action, priceless characters (including, of course, the awe-inspiring Mammy Walsh), and enjoyable dialogue coming. Now if she would just write Helen's story...

No comments: