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The Angel of History

by Bruno Arpaia

Once you get into this book it reads like a thriller. You have to keep turning the pages. Benjamin is irritating in the extreme - yet I keenly felt the tragedy of his life. I found myself looking him up on the internet - and checking out that painting 'Angelus Novus'. Although you feel you always know what is coming the ending is both sadder and more hopeful than anticipated.

Extract

The moody February light came in through the windows, dripped down the walls, crawled up to the vaulted ceiling, came to stagnate sadly in the big reading room of the library. Benjamin was at his place, immersed in grey light, his hair more rumpled than usual - his only suit growing ever more threadbare. His movements were almost furtive as he read and reread the notes he'd taken in the little notebooks with black covers that he always carried with him.
Translated by Minna Proctor

Parallels

The Trial by Franz Kafka
Benjamin's Crossing by Jay Parini
 

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