The Gate of Angels

gateofThe Gate of Angels
by Penelope Fitzgerald
1990 / 219 pages
rating  9 /  historical fiction

Back in a very well presented 1912,  somewhere near Cambridge England, Fred Fairly, a physics lecturer at St. Angelicus,  was riding down the road on his bicycle when he was startled by an unlit farm cart and crashed into a pedestrian,  Daisy Saunders, a poor nursing student.  A neighbor rushed to help and took them to her home where she put them in the same bed because Daisy was wearing a wedding ring.

Fred is pretty badly hurt and lands in a hospital where, guess what, the unmarried Daisy watches over him as she is a student nurse.  Fred falls in love which is against the rules of his job and the tale unfolds from there. Who was driving the cart that got away?

This is a very odd book,  it has a very British feel and there’s certainly a sense of mystery to it,  occult even,  but this is mixed with a small discussion of atoms and religion – things which are also unseen.  The science people are truly lost in their own worlds – the culvert may be a metaphor – you never can tell.

Fitzgerald is an old favorite for me – I’ve read all her novels but the first one – The Golden Child (1977).  These are not happy novels but they’re sometimes quite funny.  I think I appreciated The Blue Flower most but The Bookshop was fascinating.