ANGELICA by Arthur Phillips
Publisher Random House, April 2007
From the critically acclaimed, New York Times bestselling author comes a
brilliant, completely original new novel that is part Victorian ghost story,
part murder mystery, part psychological puzzle.
When Constance, a lowly clerk in a London stationery, married Joseph Barton,
a biological researcher, she believed she had found her ultimate husband and
protector. But after the troubled birth of their daughter, Angelica, and
three miscarriages, Constance fears for her life, inside her own home. She
tries to avoid having sex with her husband, and keeps Angelica sleeping in
their bedroom. When Joseph orders their daughter out of that room, Constance
begins to fear his intentions, his possible murderous hatred of her, and his
efforts to alienate her from Angelica. Sensing the presence of supernatural
evil in the house, she calls upon a spiritualist to combat the threats she
sees to her life and child, and becomes distraught as her domestic life
deteriorates into chaos and perceived danger.
But is Constance right? In four sections each taking a different character’s
point of view, Angelica proceeds to weave a tapestry of parallel and
sometimes conflicting interpretations of the lives of Constance, Anne
Montague, the spiritualist in whom Constance places her deepest trust,
Joseph, and finally Angelica. Nothing here is as it seems, but the whole
vision is coherent, provocative, and vastly entertaining.
"Angelica impresses first as a clever send-up of the late Victorian
novel, and then becomes its own very original thing. It is engrossing,
deeply moving, and--precisely because it is moving--very frightening."
-- Stephen King
Arthur Phillips’s first novel, Prague, was a national bestseller, a New
York Times Notable Book, the recipient of the Los Angeles Times/Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction, and has been translated into eleven
languages. His second novel, The Egyptologist, was an international
bestseller and sold in twenty-one countries. He lives in New York with his
wife and two sons.